Electrical Contracting News (ECN) August 2016 - Page 5

INDUSTRY NEWS ELECTRICIANS AND ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS MISSING OUT ON BUSINESS DUE TO POOR ONLINE PRESENCE Yell has discovered an overwhelming majority of electricians and electrical contractors (81 per cent) it researched have wrong or inconsistent information online, including basic details such as a phone number or email. Feedback shows 89 per cent of customers say they will try another company if the details listed online for a particular business are incorrect, suggesting many small businesses, including electricians and electrical contractors, are missing out on a lot of potential custom. Yell conducted research into how the 33,709 electricians and electrical contractors in its UK database appear online, also asking customers nationwide about their online habits and expectations. The results paint a gloomy picture pointing to some basic errors in small businesses’ approach to reaching potential online customers. Key facts: • Fifty-one per cent of customers said when they were looking for a new service, the most important source of information was a website. • Having inconsistent or non-existent information online means small businesses are missing out on potential custom with 54 per cent of people relying on positive online reviews when deciding on a new local business or service. • There are 104 electricians and electrical contractor business names in the UK that start with the name ‘Andrew’ or ‘Andrew’s’. • There are 137 electricians and electrical contractor business names in the UK that start with the name ‘David’. ‘If a company’s information online is wrong, it’s arguably worse than not being online at all,’ said Mark Clisby, Yell’s marketing director. ‘Not only is the company effectively invisible to customers, it can also seem careless or even untrustworthy. This often happens because companies don’t always know all the listings sites where they appear, or when they move they forget to update their information. It’s easily done, but can be incredibly damaging for business.’ ‘A lot of small businesses tell me they get all their business from word of mouth and don’t need to be online. However, they’re ignoring the fact that word of mouth has moved online, with more than half of all customers choosing a local business based on online reviews. That’s a lot of work to be missing out on,’ concluded Mark Clisby. To support small businesses, Yell has launched Connect, a service recognising the importance of connections, word of mouth recommendations and referrals. It helps business owners make their details visible online and get in front of the people looking for local products and services. RISKS TO OLDER SCOTS HIGHLIGHTED BY ELECTRICAL SAFETY REPORT Although older people in Scotland aged 60 plus make up 18 per cent of the population, they account for 37 per cent of the casualties and fatalities involving electricity. And with the vast majority of fires in Scottish homes caused by electricity – and the country’s ageing population – it’s a problem that needs to be urgently addressed. Now, Clare Adamson MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw, is helping leading safety charity Electrical Safety First to raise awareness of the dangers of electricity to Scotland’s ageing population. Clare recently put forward a Motion in Holyrood to highlight a report – Age Safe Scotland: Electrical Safety in an Ageing Society – produced by the charity. The report – which has been distributed to all MSPs – shows that older people tend to be owner-occupiers (72 per cent), often living in homes lacking important electrical safety features. Critically, Scotland’s quality standards for social housing and the private rented sector don’t apply to people who live in, and own, their home. But even if they don’t remain under their own roof, older people are still at risk, as Scottish care homes are not legally required to carry out mandatory electrical safety checks. Yet in 2014-2015, there were 81 fires with an electrical source in Scotland’s care homes and the number of fires in the sector has increased over the last five years. The personal cost of electrical accidents can’t be calculated but Electrical Safety First found that injuries caused by an electrical fault costs Scottish taxpayers around £8.9m each year. However, a third of this (£3m) is spent on older adults – who only represent 18 per cent of the total population. To put this in perspective, the average cost of a hospital admission for someone over 65 is comparable to the weekly cost of 28 people living in a care home. ‘The vast majority of older people want to remain in their own homes but as this report makes clear, unsafe electrics can make that a very risky business,’ explained Clare Adamson. ‘Our ageing population will see a significant increase in age related illness and frailty with, for example, growing numbers suffering from dementia – and this report also found that electrical safety is a key issue for carers when leaving a person with dementia on their own. We have a duty of care to our older people and I applaud Electrical Safety First for highlighting this issue.’ ABB IDENTIFIES TECHNICAL CHALLENGES FACING USERS OF VSDS IN HVAC APPLICATIONS ABB is addressing some 30 technical challenges facing users of variable-speed drives (VSD) within the building services sector. The challenges affect, to varying degrees, consultants, OEMs, systems houses, facility managers and end users. As such, ABB plans to target the relevant challenges to each customer type, over the coming months, before collating all 30 by way of a top tips eBook. The identified challenges are the results of over two decades of VSD installations throughout the building services sector. They are based on feedback from customers, observations of third party installations and changes to legislations, regulations and standards. ‘What has become clear is that not all drives are the same,’ explained ABB’s UK manager for HVAC drives, Carl Turbitt. ‘This is partly due to advances in hardware and software which means that today’s drives are very different to those that were written into specifications several years ago.’ For instance, today’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) applications can be driven with a variety of motor types from electronically commutated motors (ECMs), permanent magnet motors (PM), synchronous reluctance motors (SynRM) and induction motors. Yet users need to be extremely careful when selecting which type of motor can be used for their application. ECMs, for example, are brushless DC motors that function using a built-in inverter and a magnetic rotor, and as a result are claimed to achieve greater efficiency in airflow systems than other kinds of AC motors. The motors have a long life and are extremely quiet. However, they can be costly to buy and while the high efficiency offered by ECMs may be suitable for some applications, it is essential that the right motor technology is selected if unforeseen problems with harmonics, catching spinning loads and power loss ride through are to be avoided. The cost effective SynRM offers the same efficiencies as ECMs but without the aforementioned issues. A SynRM controlled properly in a well designed system can achieve the specific fan powers, whilst being controlled by a traditional VSD that then brings all of the advantages associated with that drive such as: improved harmonic mitigation, adequate power drip ride through, fieldbus connectivity and built-in control features to enhance the application. ‘ECMs, at smaller ratings, are more compact and their efficiencies make them attractive to OEMs,’ noted Turbitt. ‘But above 11kW, they are too big to fit fans. Also at higher powers, heat losses cannot be easily dissipated within a fan’s hub design. By contrast, using a VSD and motor package in these higher powers avoids these issues and brings a host of other important benefits such as harmonic mitigation, the ability to catch a spinning load etc.’ BECAUSE NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SAFETY There’s no match for Alsecure © NX600 Enhanced Fire • Easy to strip and install; easy to handle and deliver Resistant Cable Nexans, Nexans House, Chesney Wold, Bleak Hall, Milton Keynes MK6 1LA Phone: 01908 250 850 Fax: 01908 250 851 Email: marketing.uk@nexans.com nexans.co.uk/nx600 • Approved by LPCB and BASEC to meet the requirements of BS7846-F120 to maintain circuit integrity in the event of a fire • Approved for 30, 60 and 120 minute applications as described in BS8519 • Meets the requirements of BS8491 fire test which simulates direct impact and also the effects of a high pressure water hose along with a continuous flame • Designed for use with fire safety engineering systems in large, multi-storey and complex buildings