Inteb names Tomorrow’s Women Wirral as its chosen charity

A GROUNDBREAKING and dynamic organisation that helps women to turn their lives around and make a fresh start has become the chosen charity for Inteb Managed Services.

The company will be supporting Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, an award-winning community charity committed to reducing female offending and imprisonment as well as providing assistance to women who have never entered the Criminal Justice System but who want to make positive lifestyle changes.

From its “safe haven” base in Birkenhead, Tomorrow’s Women has for the past seven years been running a full timetable of free educational workshops, courses and social activities to help integrate women from the Wirral community, no matter what their background or issues.

More than 600 visitors use the centre each week. It’s a place where there’s always a listening ear, a cup of tea and a warm, welcoming environment offering fitness, cookery and craft classes, health and wellbeing advice, debt and finance support as well as dealing with issues including domestic abuse and confidential drop-in sessions from police, solicitors and support agencies.

Recycling courses have been set up teaching women to use recycled material for crafts and Tomorrow’s Women Wirral has also developed a Recovery Garden, recycling rainwater, composting and recycling furniture.

A vital part of the programme is putting women on the road to employment by supporting them to gain qualifications and providing them with job-seeking skills such as interview techniques and confidence-building exercises.

Tomorrow’s Women’s chief executive Angela Murphy explained: “Tomorrow’s Women is all about enabling women to share skills to support one another. We engage with more than 160 agencies that offer their expertise to enable women to move forward in their lives, offer support to women who may feel isolated, have low self-esteem or simply want to try something new.

“We provide a safe haven in the heart of the community with our charity designed to benefit all women aged over 18 and we have so many success stories of employment, education and holistic wellbeing.”

Raja Khan, Inteb’s commercial director, said: “Visiting Tomorrow’s Women, I learned about some of the incredible work being done there to tackle and prevent some of the underlying issues that lead women into difficulty.

“It offers a route out of the negative situations some women find themselves in and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Angela and her team, along with volunteers, to help in any way we can with support for employability programmes and with fundraising.”

More about the work of Tomorrow’s Women Wirral here.

Improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings

Around 30 per cent of the average energy used in commercial buildings could be wasted, prompting action for commercial property owners to reduce hefty energy bills and their business’ impact on the environment.

Heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems and lighting typically account for more than three-quarters of a building’s energy use. However, costs associated with all of these can be easily reduced if a business knows what it’s doing.

To reduce energy wastage, many owners of commercial buildings are investing in building management systems – ranging from automatically opening windows and closing blinds on hot days to calculating the number of occupants on a given day and adjusting the heating to take into account the warmth their bodies will generate.

New premises come with much of this innovation as standard but Gary Franklin, director at Matrix Control Solutions, an E.ON business, says older buildings are also ripe for investment in energy and cost savings. This could reduce their energy consumption by up to 60 per cent.

He said: “New buildings are constructed to certain statutory environmental requirements and procedures, such as BREEAM and BIM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method and Building Information Modelling), two processes for managing information during and after construction and old buildings were not.

“That means there are a lot of old buildings where we can make big energy savings and create a return on investment really quickly.

“There are lots of these quick wins right now for energy efficiency in terms of simple software changes for heating and cooling, but in the medium to long-term the next big change for businesses will be in getting all of the building’s systems working together according to real time, and we’re starting to do that right now.”

While installing new technology is an expense, the payoff can be seen in many areas beyond just energy efficiency, with smarter lighting and windows boosting security, better environmental controls making life more comfortable for staff or automated off switches increasing the lifespan of equipment that simply doesn’t need to run at all hours.

Today’s building management systems work with many different sensors all over a building to warn of the need for preventative repairs before equipment fails and causes costly damage, or alerting that an inappropriate key card has been used to try and access a restricted area.

Since power prices fluctuate throughout the day, buildings that are equipped with onsite generation from wind, solar or their own power plants can adjust when and how much additional power they buy from the grid.

Also, due to the National Grid operating a demand-response programme, participants are incentivised to reduce their purchases of grid-sourced power when national power supplies are tight. When this occurs, a building’s building management system can either reduce energy consumption by operating certain equipment at other times, or switch to onsite generation.

Building management systems are also convenient for operators and maintenance contractors for businesses that have many premises. Office complexes, hospitals, universities and schools can integrate all of their systems and allow an operator to monitor the entire facility from a single source.

Inteb reassures that smart meters are not compulsory

Reassurances have been given by Inteb Managed Services that the installation of a smart meter is not compulsory for energy consumers.

Following concerns issued nationally by Citizens Advice that some customers have been told the meters are a legal requirement, Inteb’s commercial director Raja Khan explained: “Smart meters are not compulsory; it’s entirely the consumers’ choice.

“The government requires energy suppliers to offer smart meters to all homes and small businesses across Great Britain by 2020, but whether you accept them is completely up to you.”

Citizens Advice has claimed that some energy companies have sent messages to consumers by email, letters, texts and phone calls warning they must comply with smart metering legislation.

The organisation’s Victoria McGregor reiterated: “Smart meters are not compulsory and customers shouldn’t feel pressured to have one installed.”

The government’s smart meter programme is continuing to roll with almost five million new meters now operating in the UK. But there’s a long way to go as there are more than 26 million homes for energy suppliers to get to, with the goal of every home having a smart meter by 2020.

Smart meters put consumers in control of their energy use, allowing them to adopt energy efficiency measures that can help save money on energy bills and offset price increases.

They are the next generation of gas and electricity meters and offer a range of intelligent functions. For example, they can show how much energy is being used through an in-home display and they communicate directly with the energy supplier, meaning there will be an end to visits by meter readers to your premises.

More than four in five people who have a smart meter say they would recommend one and they are being installed across the country, at no extra cost, to replace the traditional meters – including pre-pay key meters. They will give consumers more control over energy use and help them to understand bills and the energy system.

What do smart meters do?

A smart meter sends automatic meter readings directly to the energy supplier, resulting in accurate bills, an end to estimates and manual meter readings. The in-home display is a portable device which shows how much energy is being used and what it’s costing in pounds and pence, in near real time. Both smart meter and display will be installed by the energy supplier at no extra cost.

How do smart meters work?

The smart meter measures how much gas and electricity being used and shares this directly and securely with the energy supplier and the in-home display, using wireless technology. You won’t have to take any meter readings manually – the smart meter will send automatic readings to the energy supplier via a secure national network which is solely for smart meters. This works in the same way as other wireless systems like car remote keys or TVs, using radio waves. Though it is a wireless system, you don’t need Wi-Fi for it to work and the meter won’t use your Wi-Fi if you do have it.

How accurate are smart meters?

Smart meters are as accurate as traditional meters. By law, all smart meters have to be certified by the National Measurement Office to prove their accuracy but if you do think there’s a fault, it can be reported to the Energy Ombudsman.

Is a broadband connection necessary to use a smart meter?

No – smart meters use an entirely separate, bespoke wireless system.

Who can access my smart meter data and how is it used?

Only the supplier, and they won’t share any of it without permission. The meter will keep your data secure. Depending on how often you agree to share it with your supplier, the smart meter will send half-hourly, daily or monthly meter readings. You can change your preference for how often you share this information at any point by getting in contact with your supplier directly. The energy supplier may also use this information to provide tailored energy efficiency advice and improve the service they provide for you.

How can a smart meter save money?

Using the information shown on the in-home display should be able to help cut energy costs. Smart meters also mean accurate bills, consumers only paying for what has actually been used rather than overpaying, as sometimes happens with estimates.

Can a smart meter help with energy efficiency?

Smart meters make it easier to identify situations where a lot of energy is being used and where consumers might want to make changes to reduce it. They are also a crucial step towards the development of the smart grid, a new way of running our energy network. Energy suppliers will be better equipped to plan and manage the country’s electricity and gas and match supply and demand. Also, smart appliances will be able to interact with smart meter systems to help save energy – for example, setting the dishwasher to come on when electricity is cheapest or by getting a text message if the heating has been left on on by mistake.

Energy firms told to boost cyber security

Energy firms could be fined up to £17m if they fail to have robust safeguards in place against cyber attacks.

New regulators will be able to assess critical industries to make sure plans are as robust as possible.

A simple, straightforward reporting system will be set up to make it easy to report cyber breaches and IT failures so they can be quickly identified and acted upon.

This will ensure UK operators in electricity, transport, water, energy, transport, health and digital infrastructure are prepared to deal with the increasing numbers of cyber threats.

It will also cover other threats affecting IT such as power outages, hardware failures and environmental hazards. Under the new measures, recent cyber breaches such as WannaCry and high profile systems failures would be covered by the Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive.

These incidents would have to be reported to the regulator who would assess whether appropriate security measures were in place. The regulator will have the power to issue legally-binding instructions to improve security and – if appropriate – impose financial penalties.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “We are setting out new and robust cyber security measures to help ensure the UK is the safest place in the world to live and be online.

“We want our essential services and infrastructure to be primed and ready to tackle cyber attacks and be resilient against major disruption to services. I encourage all public and private operators in these essential sectors to take action now and consult NCSC’s advice on how they can improve their cyber security.”

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the UK’s centre of cyber excellence established in 2017, has published detailed guidance on the security measures to help organisations comply. These are based around 14 key principles set out in our consultation and government response and are aligned with existing cyber security standards.

National Cyber Security Centre chief executive Ciaran Martin said: “Our new guidance will give clear advice on what organisations need to do to implement essential cyber security measures. Network and information systems give critical support to everyday activities so it is absolutely vital that they are as secure as possible.”

The new measures follow the consultation held last year by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport seeking views from industry on how to implement the NIS Directive from May 10 2018.

Fines would be a last resort and will not apply to operators which have assessed the risks adequately, taken appropriate security measures and engaged with regulators but still suffered an attack.

Penalties will be fixed at a maximum of £17m and the new legislation will be made clearer for companies to know whether they have to comply with the NIS Directive.

The NIS Directive is an important part of the Government’s five-year £1.9bn National Cyber Security Strategy to protect the nation from cyber threats and make the UK the safest place to live and work online. It will ensure essential service operators are taking the necessary action to protect their IT systems.

Source: Network