Britain’s leading consumer charity has sounded the alarm after a small energy supplier began taking advance payments of about £1,000 per customer and marketing its tariff like a financial savings product. Eversmart Energy started encouraging households to pay for a year’s energy upfront in October, shortly before it missed a deadline to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds it owed through a green energy scheme. It is marketing the tariff as “better value than an Isa or a high street savings account”, because it claims to pay 12 per cent interest on credit balances. Citizens Advice warned of “serious implications” if such large advance payments become widespread because Ofgem rules stipulate that if a supplier goes bust all other households can be forced to pay for honouring its customers ‘ credit balances.
Times 3rd Dec 2018 read more »
National Grid has turned to artificial intelligence to help it maintain the wires and pylons that transmit electricity from power stations to homes and businesses across the UK. The firm has been using six drones for the past two years to help inspect its 7,200 miles of overhead lines around England and Wales. Equipped with high-res still, video and infrared cameras, the drones are deployed to assess the steelwork, wear and corrosion, and faults such as damaged conductors. Historically, such work was undertaken by engineers climbing up pylons or using helicopters. But John Pettigrew, National Grid’s chief executive, said the firm had now taken a further step and started applying machine learning to analyse the drone footage and cut the volume of material a human operator needs to review.
Guardian 2nd Dec 2018 read more »