Welsh Water Extends Sewage Network Study
Four months after appointing a contractor to deliver a smart sewer network monitoring pilot, Welsh Water has announced that it will be extending the current study which is based around the village of Llay near Wrexham so that it will now include the Gwersyllt area of Gresford. Welsh Water is dedicated to preventing flooding and reducing pollution events across its network by identifying blockages much more effectively. The decision to broaden out the study area will assist in the development of a target operating model which can then be rolled out in other catchment areas.
The Business Development manager at Detectronic, the contractor for the project said:
“Based on additional site visits and reviewing the catchment area with Welsh Water, we will install another eight of our Depth/Velocity flow meters and one rain gauge within the new catchment area. Monitoring of the extended area includes a further two combined sewer overflows and three areas that have previously been affected by flooding. We are monitoring both legs of the sewer that passes through Gresford to ensure that we gather robust data that will help improve operational network performance and ultimately identify how and where Welsh Water will prevent blockages in future.”
Welsh Water’s Sewerage Manager echoed the statement, saying that the exercise so far had proved to be ‘very useful.’ He said that the project was helping the water company to understand how its network performs, providing them with advanced notice of any issues before they actually develop.
Southern Water Launches Employer Paid Health Plan
Water company Southern Water has launched a new employer funded health cash plan for its 2000 employees. The scheme will be known as ‘yourHealth Cash Plan’ and will be provided by Bupa. Since its launch in July, the scheme has seen more than 68% of employees opt in. The scheme was launched by the organisation following research among employees that staff wanted help with the costs of healthcare. More than £10,000 worth of claims has already been made in the first two months since the scheme began.
The idea of the scheme was communicated by using employee briefings, road shows and drop-in sessions at several of the company offices. Posters, emails and internal letters were also used. The cash plan is just one of the ways that Southern Water intends to focus on employee well-being more than ever throughout 2014. In July, the company also tripled it’s ‘bikes for work’ take up following a relaunch.
Susan Gregory, the company’s reward manager said:
“The introduction of the cash plan fits really well with our promotion of the wellbeing programme that we are working on this year and with engagement with our employees within the organisation. It promotes wellbeing because it offers cashback for routine everyday health needs such as dental and optical check ups and prescription charges. Regardless of whether the employee chooses private or NHS treatment, the cashback plan will give money back on the cost of treatments. I am delighted with the response rate, with over £10,000 of claims already made.”
First Utility Aims To Double Customers By 2016
Energy provider First Utility has just hit a landmark one million customers- but it isn’t stopping there, as it has plans to double its customer numbers by 2016. The big claim that it can do so was made by no other than the company boss, as it became the first small independent energy provider to celebrate the milestone.
The Chief Executive called it a ‘realistic’ ambition to get to 2 million accounts by the end of 2016 but said that the plans put in place by the Labour party to freeze energy prices and potential price spikes by the Ukraine crisis were the biggest threats that the company would come across in its path.
The supplier was founded back in 2008 and now serves around 550,000 households- 90 per cent of these households are also dual fuel customers- meaning that the company now has over 1 million separate gas and electricity accounts overall. As with most other independent energy suppliers, First Utility grew rapidly late last year when customers became sick of the ‘Big Six’ providers messing them around and switched following price rises. Around 100,000 households switched to First Utility in just six weeks last Autumn, many households and businesses aren’t sure how to switch energy suppliers and therefore end up staying with the same provider and inflated price for years, when in reality switching is as easy as using a site like Utility Bidder or an alternative utility switch site.
It shows that there is a change in the market coming- the independent suppliers now control 8 per cent of it, compared to just 1 per cent back in 2011. However, the Big Six do still dwarf companies like First Utility with all six supplying at least 3 million households.
Eon Unveils Wind Farm Changes
Eon has began discussing its planned changes for its proposed Enoch Hill Wind Farm which will be located South West of New Cumnock in East Ayrshire.
The energy giant has began inviting locals to attend public exhibition sessions to find out more about the proposed plans for the 23-turbine facility. The first session will be held on the 7th October in a community centre based in Dalmellington. The second will take place in the 8th October in New Cumnock.
Eon project developer Simon LeJeune said:
“These sessions are being held to keep the local community informed about our plans and to give them the opportunity to get involved and share their views before we submit our planning application. We’d like to thank the local people for the feedback we have already received through our Public Information Days held in 2012 and through the Community Liaison Group which we have actively taken on board. Since then, we have made the commitment that no turbines will be placed within 1.5km of the nearest residential dwelling following concerns over the visibility and proximity of the site and have also agreed to consider the combined environmental impact of all wind farms within 35km.”
The development of the wind farm comes just after Eon warned fellow energy providers that they must ‘adapt or die’ in order to survive the current energy industry in the face of shortages, price rises and freezes as pressure comes from around the world.