The Great Storm of October 2013

Apart from this tree, there doesn’t appear to be too much damage after the great storm of London (otherwise referred to as ‘a bit of a windy night’ for those of us who originate from up north).

Sadly the storm was too much for this old tree at the end of Emlfield

Sadly the storm was too much for this old tree at the end of Emlfield

How to manage increases in energy costs

Energy companies are currently in the process of their annual massive price hike in gas and electricity costs just before winter, despite there being no clear evidence of increases in so-called ‘wholesale’ prices e.g. according to this BBC article dated 21 October.  The system doesn’t work because of something called vertical integration. This is described by the UK government in their report on the Electricity Wholesale Market., Get used to that new terminology – you’ll be hearing it alot.

So how can we challenge the big companies? The Big London Energy Switch encourages people to get together to try to acheive a better deal through collective bargaining. It seems between over 5 thousand to over 7 thousand people participated in their most recent ‘auctions’. Hardly a massive take up. The government are still saying people should just switch suppliers using online services such as uSwitch. Most people don’t bother – not because they are apathetic but because they just don’t believe there is any point when suppliers all seem to charge roughly the same amount.

It’s possible that what used to seem radical ideas are now becoming a bit more practical. Is it possible for whole streets or local areas to work together and become ‘off the grid’ by generating their own power? Can we use collective bargaining to bulk buy solar roof panels, insulation and geothermal power generation solutions? Maybe we can put a watermill on the flood relief channell 🙂

Whatever the solution, in the short term as the weather gets colder we should all keep an eye on our neighbours this winter more than ever.

 

 

 

London ‘risks losing its identity and soul’

Interesting Observer article on the London housing crisis.

 

 

More photos.

Rob’s added some new photos to the 2013 Photos page.