Wednesday, 25 September 2013

I quite like Milliband’s power price freeze.



I’m not a fan of Labour, and most certainly not a fan of Milliband but his pledge of a freeze on gas and electricity prices sounds quite good to me.

Of course I realise it’s the pinnacle of hypocrisy for the architect of the climate change act (that put all the extra ‘renewable’ costs onto bills) to now turn round and complain at energy costs. Equally well I realise it won’t work. It’s a nonsensical piece of socialist thinking that will cause untold confusion in the supply industry. But that’s really the main reason I like the idea.

At the moment we have what is described as a ‘free market’, except that it isn’t. It’s a cartel of large corporations operating in a government set of rules. Most of these rules being defined to defend the corporations and ensure they make large profits.

The only champion for the consumer is a toothless and sofa-bound utility regulator that is in practice worse than useless. Why worse? Because in the event that the utility does something naughty and fails to provide fair service the regulator (if it bothers to do anything at all) fines them – i.e. they take money from the utility company and give it to the government. This does nothing for the consumer in the way of repaying them for being ripped off. In response to the fine the utility company then inflate their costs and charges, thereby extracting yet more money from the consumer to ensure company profits and shareholders don’t lose out. Thus regulatory fines act in practice as nothing but a simple tax on consumers – a penalty for having chosen a poor utility supplier!

What the consumer needs is a mechanism that would force the utility supplier to pay back the overcharging and rip-off pricing directly back to the consumer. A price freeze does exactly that. 

So it’s a stupid idea, it won’t work, it’s probably undemocratic and against EU rules and it will cause chaos. Bloody good job, the entire utility cartel system and the renewable obligation nonsense needs a good dose of chaos, maybe it will even help improve the existing rip-off system.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Trained architect fails basic physics




For years I have been taking note of new buildings and wondering why they were so ugly, why architects and occupiers were more interested in making a statement than in producing a good workable building.

Ever since a friend’s company moved, many years ago, to a then ‘state of the art’ modern building with glass panel walls that cooked them in summer and randomly fell off into the street thereafter it has been obvious to me that some architects don’t know what people need, and more importantly don’t know enough about materials technology and basic physics to do their job properly.

It should have been obvious from the initial design drawings that this building in London  was nothing more than a huge reflective lens. An average schoolboy in my day would have instantly recognized that it would create a focus of light and infra red radiation. 

I notice that the council have closed three parking bays – well I hate to tell them this but the focus will move around a much wider area than 3 bays, I would suggest that any building or item in front of it is at potential risk of heat damage or fire from the hotspot which will move around as the seasons change and the sun’s position moves.

It will be interesting to see how they fix it, if indeed they can fix it without making the building uninhabitable.