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8 Types of Lighting Control Systems

Just as there are many different varieties of lights available to suit all kinds of needs, there are also just as varied a selection of control systems to use them. It’s often advisable to opt for something that provides a little more flexibility than the simple ‘on/off’ switch. Varied lighting controls are a common occurrence in many commercial buildings due to the benefits relating to security, as well as saving energy and money. However, we’re also beginning to see an increasing number of different lighting controls in homes. This is due to their utility and cost-effectiveness when applied to the right situation. We’ve provided a run down on the different options below, for your consideration.

Light switch

Dimmer switches

Dimmer switches are a classic way to provide that added bit of control to the user, allowing them to select the perfect lighting level to suit a particular mood of their choosing. Dimmers come in different forms:

  • Manual dimmers give full manual control to the occupant, providing convenience and ease.
  • Touch dimmers serve as a more elegant variation of the manual dimmer switch. Requiring simply a quick touch of the finger, they quickly and easily affect changes to the lighting state.
  • Remote control dimmers can be operated remotely using a device. This means the user can operate the lighting controls from within the space, or from elsewhere.

Time switches

These are a staple for many businesses with large commercial premises. Time switches are a useful way to conserve energy after a building is left unattended for the night. In the interests of security, it’s often preferable (or mandated by insurance policy) to leave the premises’ lights on until later at night in order to deter trespassers. Time switches allow businesses to accommodate this requirement whilst avoiding unnecessary energy wastage and reducing costs.

Light level sensors

These sensors can switch lights on or off according to the outdoor light levels visible through the window. This removes the need for lights to be switched on manually at the beginning or end of the day. It’s also possible to use sensors to adjust the lighting levels of a space rather than simply switching them on or off. This creates the effect of a smooth, barely noticeable transition from daylight hours to night time. An elegant solution for encouraging productivity in workspaces, or for rooms used to entertain visitors.

Occupancy sensors for indoor lighting

Indoor lighting sensors provide the ultimate convenience for occupants entering a space. They work by either detecting body heat using infrared sensors, or emitting an ultrasonic sound pattern that triggers a signal when interrupted by bodies entering a room. These sensors can either switch lights on or off, or be combined with a dimmer switch that reduces lights to a low level after the room is emptied. This serves as another great way to reduce energy and improve ease of use.

Motion sensors for outdoor lightingOutdoor motion sensor lighting

Motion sensors help maintain the optimum balance. They ensure good security levels on a premises during times of day that are more likely to attract trespassers (such as after hours) by switching on at the first sign of movement; at the same time, they allow owners to save as much energy as possible by switching off during periods of low activity. You can read more about outdoor security lighting measures here.

Remote control outside lighting

Alternatively, it may be more useful to have maximum control of your outdoor lighting network, as is often the case on large premises with lots of lights. In this case, a remotely controlled integrated system might be the best fit. Remote integrated systems allow users to control the entire lighting network from one centralised point such as a single device, or an app on a smartphone or tablet. Whilst this technology is usually the higher end of the scale in terms of price, this is an unrivalled way of ensuring maximum control, convenience and peace of mind when taking security measures for your premises.

Find the right lighting control system for you with Point Electrical

With so many varied possibilities, it can be hard to know where to begin when deciding how best to kit out your home or business premises. Contact us for more information on what would be the most suitable option for your situation, and we can also provide you with an obligation-free quote for our services. For more detail on what we have to offer, you can also visit our Domestic and Commercial services pages.

Lighting Ideas That Bring a Spark to Your Valentine’s Day

It’s that time of year again…! As the 14th of February looms, you may be feeling the pressure to put on the perfect romantic evening with your partner or new date. Perhaps you’ve opted for an evening in, complete with a home-cooked meal, a nice bottle of wine and the perfect album playing on Spotify; or maybe instead you’ve booked a fancy restaurant or a movie – but you want everything to be just right when the two of you get home?

Trust us when we say that if you can find the right lighting to set the mood, then everything else will fall into place. Read on for our top tips.

Dim the lights

Research suggests that bright electric lights can be linked to higher stress levels. By the same token, this would explain why dimming the lights can help to create a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere, allowing you and your partner to feel more intimate. The cheapest way to create a dim lighting effect is to switch off the main lights and plug in one or two table or floor lamps with a nice lampshade. Alternatively, we could help you have a dimmer switch installed for your light fittings, for ultimate control and convenience.

Invest in some coloured smart light bulbs

Smart bulbs are different from your average bulb in that they contain colour changing LEDs. This means that by investing in smart bulbs for your living room or bedroom, you have a range of colours at your disposal. Warm reddish colours like soft pink, orange or purple are great for adding a romantic tint to your room.

Get a fire going

There’s no denying that an open wood or coal-burning fire conjures up a cosy, festive atmosphere. They’re perfect for the cold winter months and for snuggling up close to your loved one. And if you don’t have the capacity for a real fireplace in your home, there’s a range of tasteful electric alternatives that can be fitted. These can achieve the exact same effect without ever having to sweep up any embers.

Hang some fairy lightsFairy lights

These strings of small LED bulbs are a wonderfully cost-effective way to diversify the lighting state of any room, guaranteeing a romantic touch. Fairy lights can be purchased in a range of colours and arranged in endless different ways. This gives you the creative license you need to set the scene.

Put out some candles

Sparking images of romantic dinners, sensuous baths or dimly lit bedrooms, candles are an iconic way of pulling off the perfect intimate setting with the flick of a match. Consider avoiding the potential mess and fire hazard by getting in some LED candles instead. Many have handy adjustable settings, and they will also last much longer than their wax counterparts.

The Ultimate Solution

Having said all of the above, if you want the best of the best, the only true solution would be to have a fully controllable lighting scheme designed around you, your lifestyle and property. Transform your home when entertaining, enhance your living space or simply ‘set the mood’ via a smart lighting control system, such as Lutron.  This isn’t the cheapest solution but is the only true way of controlling the lighting, mood and ambience of your home.

Look to Point Electrical for your Valentine’s day solutions

Hopefully you’re now feeling much more confident about your Valentine’s day plans. At Point Electrical, we are well equipped to ensure that those plans (and any others) are pulled off down to a T – this year, and for years to come. Contact us today to discuss your ideas and we can provide you with a quote, obligation-free.

The Importance of Regularly Testing Your Fire Alarm

Most self-respecting business and homeowners would agree on the importance of having a fire alarm system on the premises. However, many still fall short by not only failing to have their fire alarms installed by a professional but also by not testing their fire alarms regularly. Make sure you’re not one of those exposing themselves and others to unnecessary risk.

Why are fire alarms important?

There are many reasons why it’s important to have a fully functioning fire alarm system. Aside from the obvious risk of personal injury or loss of life, there are lots of expensive consequences in store for those who don’t have a properly installed fire alarm system in place. Damage to property, legal costs and voided insurance all stack up to result in a hefty bill that could leave you with financial difficulties – in short, nothing but disaster.

The bottom line is that UK law requires that all business premises be fitted with a fire alarm system that is regularly checked and maintained (see The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for more details). That means if you want to be considered a legitimate business, you will have to commit to the upkeep of a working fire alarm.

The solution is simple: remember to have your fire alarm system installed by a certified professional and regularly check your fire alarm to make sure it is fully functioning. That way, you mitigate the risk of fire and protect yourself and others from the worst-case scenario.

How often should I test my fire alarm?

At home

  • Rather than a full fire alarm system, most houses will be fitted with a smoke detector. These are usually battery powered although occasionally can be mains fitted.
  • In the case of battery powered smoke detectors, it’s important to note that the batteries will run down over time. What’s more, even some of the small parts of the device may wear down eventually. That’s why you should regularly test your smoke detector, so you know to change the batteries, or (in the case of worn-down parts) replace the whole device if necessary.
  • You’re advised to test your smoke detector once a month to make sure it’s still working, and it’s expected that you’ll need to change the batteries once or twice a year. Also consider wiping down or vacuuming the device to prevent an internal buildup of dust which could affect functionality.
  • A smoke detector should last around 10 years before needing to be fully replaced. Keep a record of the month and year it was installed so that you’re prepared for when that time finally comes around.

At work

  • For the average sized business premises, it’s recommended that the fire alarm system be properly tested every 6 months.
  • A larger premises needs to be tested more frequently. This is because a larger building means a larger, more complex fire alarm system with a higher number of separate components, and therefore a higher risk of one of those components malfunctioning. If this applies to your premises, commit to testing your fire alarm system each quarter.
  • For a full fire alarm system, it’s advisable to enlist the services of a professional company rather than leaving it to yourself or your staff. Professional technicians provide accurate, reliable results and are up to date with any changes to technology or fire safety regulations.
  • Most companies offering fire alarm installation services will also provide regular inspection and maintenance of the system following installation. Make sure you go with a trusted, well regarded company for the best results.

Who should I contact?

It’s never worth taking chances in the case of fire safety. As a highly reputed, professional organisation, Point Electrical are the smartest choice to put your fears at rest. Whether it’s for your home or for your business, choose us for guaranteed professional service, expert consultation, as well as swift and efficient maintenance whenever necessary. Contact us for an obligation-free quote.

The Importance of a Fully Functioning Fire Alarm System at Work

UK Fire Safety Regulations stipulate that businesses must have some effective means of fire detection. This may not actually require a fire alarm, for example in the case of small, open-plan premises, if a fire could be detected and an alarm raised using simple common sense.

However, if your premises include multiple rooms, stores flammable chemicals or involves high-risk activities such as cooking or use of electric equipment, then raising an alarm can’t simply be left to human discretion. In the case of most businesses, this means an effective fire alarm system is necessary.

What’s at stake?

For many, paying to install and maintain a fire alarm system may, at times, feel like a bit of a chore or an unwelcome expense. However, neglecting such a responsibility could have dire consequences for you and your business.

  • Injury or death: With fire safety, always remember that human lives are at stake. Taking proper precautions means significantly reducing the risk of injury and loss of life. What could be more important?
  • Legal action: Of course, personal injury or death is almost always accompanied by a lawsuit. Aside from the expense, this could leave a stain on your company’s reputation that would be hard to rub off. A functioning fire alarm system could help you avoid this outcome, either by preventing the outbreak of fire altogether or by strengthening your legal defense in the unfortunate worst-case scenario. Remember, it is a legal requirement to adhere to UK fire safety regulations.
  • Financial costs: It goes without saying that dealing with a lawsuit is an expensive ordeal. Additionally, damage to the premises’ structure and its contents is also a possibility in the event of a fire. By putting the right measures in place, you are doing your best to ensure against the heavy cost of repairs.
  • Loss of insurance: Thinking you’ll be protected by your insurance? You’ll be required to prove the existence of a working fire alarm system on your premises in order to make a successful claim. If you fail to do this, your claim will fall through and you’ll be left to handle those huge costs on your own.

As you can see, it’s extremely important to install a fire alarm system for your business – and to make sure it works properly!

Where do I start?Fire exit sign

The first thing you need to do is carry out a fire risk assessment. This uses a survey to identify all potential fire risks in the vicinity, allowing you and your staff to become fully aware and take necessary precautions. Just as importantly, a fire risk assessment will reveal what kind of fire alarm system is most appropriate for your business.

A fire risk assessment can be carried out by a member of your organisation (provided they are qualified) or by an expert. If in doubt, always refer to an expert who is up to date with the latest fire safety regulations. When it comes to safety, it’s best not to leave anything uncertain.

Regularly testing your fire alarm

It’s all very well installing a fire alarm, but if it doesn’t function properly then a fire and all the aforementioned consequences are still on the cards. It’s also in your interest to have a fully functioning fire alarm in order to reduce the number of false alarms triggered. Lots of false alarms will result in a costly fine for calling out the fire brigade unnecessarily.

Accordingly, it’s just as important to regularly test your fire alarm system at work.

Contact Point Electrical for fire safety solutions

Our team at Point Electrical offer specialist commercial electrical services, including electrical installation, and we understand the paramount importance of an effective fire alarm system. Friendly, adaptable and reliable, our engineers will consult with you and install the specific fire alarm requirements for your premises. We guarantee to leave you satisfied and with your fears extinguished. Contact us today.

What is PAT Testing?

You’ve probably heard of ‘PAT testing’ before, but not everyone knows what it actually means. ‘PAT’ stands for Portable Appliance Testing (this means that the term ‘PAT testing’ is the electrical equivalent of saying ‘PIN number’, but we won’t worry about that too much here).

So, what does it really mean? In short, Portable Appliance Testing is a process designed for any electrical appliance that can be moved by hand. It may seem obvious to some, but PAT testing is important because it helps to prevent against electrical fires, or any other harm or injury that could be caused to employees and customers by faulty electrical equipment.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 were brought in by the government to make preventing such harm and injury a legal requirement. PAT testing is not compulsory, however, the quickest and easiest way to abide by these regulations is by conducting regular PAT tests on your electrical equipment.

What does PAT testing involve?

  • A piece of equipment called a PAT tester, or PAT testing device, which is connected to the appliance in question. A series of electrical tests are conducted to check that it is functional and in a safe condition.
  • Most PAT testers confirm results quickly and simply as either a ‘pass’ or a ‘fail’.
  • Alongside this, a visual inspection of the appliance is also carried out by the person conducting the PAT test.

A common assumption is that Portable Appliance Testing means checking an electrical appliance using a PAT tester. But in fact, the phrase ‘PAT testing’ refers to the overall process. Importantly, this includes the visual inspection of the appliance.

This is because:

  • The visual inspection only reveals any physical defects, such as hazardous exposed wiring
  • The PAT testing device confirms the condition of the electrics but can’t detect physical defects.

Essentially, they depend on each other to provide a complete evaluation.

How often should I be testing my electrical appliances?

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 asserts that all electrical equipment must be kept in a condition that prevents it from causing harm in the workplace. Beyond that, it doesn’t go into further detail. This means that there is no minimum legal requirement for how often an item must be PAT tested.

Having said that, it remains necessary to check the condition of electrical appliances as often as possible in order to prevent a workplace-related injury. Otherwise, you really could be in legal trouble. Additionally, insurance companies will also require you to conduct regular checks of your electrical equipment.

As a general rule, it’s worth remembering that electrical items that are handled more often should be PAT tested more often. So, for example, a kettle or a vacuum cleaner needs more frequent testing than a TV or a standing lamp might require. There are recommendations for how often different electrical appliances should be PAT tested: if you speak to an expert, they can give you the most accurate guidance.

It’s also often asked whether newly purchased electrical equipment needs to be PAT tested before its first use. As a rule, an electrical product from any self-respecting manufacturer should arrive in a safe and functional condition. A quick visual inspection for any physical defects before first usage should suffice.

Who should I contact about a PAT test? Point Electrical van

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 doesn’t specify who is required to check the safety and functionality of workplace appliances. That means that PAT testing can be carried out by yourself or a trusted member of staff, provided you own a PAT testing device.

However, an expert electrician is always advisable in order to ensure accurate and reliable results. When it comes to matters of health and safety, it’s always best to be absolutely certain that you’ve put the best possible measures in place.

If you’re looking for a qualified electrician to reliably PAT test your electrical appliances, then look no further. Point Electrical’s trusted commercial electricians are NICEIC approved and always happy to assist and provide expert advice. Get in touch and get it sorted, no hassle required.

Are LED Lightbulbs Really Worth It?

You may have heard about the many benefits of LED lightbulbs. From brighter lighting solutions to saving energy, however, are they really worth the extra money?

There are 3 main types of lightbulbs on the market;

  • LED– light emitting diode
  • CFL– compact fluorescent light
  • Incandescent– emits light due to being heated

LED lights are currently the most sustainable type of bulb available. They use a mixture of red, green and blue light to emit bright white light and are best for illuminating concentrated areas.

CFL bulbs sit between LED and incandescent. They are fairly energy efficient, however, sometimes take slightly longer to brighten and can be a safety hazard if broken.  They contain a small amount of mercury so must be disposed of correctly.

Traditional incandescent light bulbs work by electricity being passed through a thin wire filament being heated, causing it to emit light. Due to this, they get very hot and emit 80-90% of their energy as heat.

As you can see, LED light bulbs are becoming the most favourable. Due to recent developments in technology, they are also much more affordable than they have been in the past, making them widely available to more people.

So, what are the main benefits of LED bulbs?

The main benefits of switching to LED bulbs is their lifespan, energy efficiency and long-term saving.

An LED bulb can be expected to last up to 50,000 hours as opposed to a traditional incandescent bulb which only lasts 1,000 hours. Therefore, the saving on cost and time to replace is second to none.

As the world becomes more socially conscious, there is no time like the present to consider how you could save more energy in your home. An LED bulb uses a much smaller wattage than any other bulb meaning that less energy is required to keep it running. This will result in a huge saving over time.

Opting for LED also allows you to cater your lighting to each room. You may want cool toned light in the kitchen to keep it bright and fresh but soft, warm lighting in the living room to create a cosy atmosphere. In order to achieve the correct ambience in your home, be sure to pay attention to the type of affect the bulb will give before purchasing.

Soraa and Philips offers a great range of LED bulbs, varying in affect and design with something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your domestic or commercial lighting, Point Electrical are always happy to offer their advice and assistance.  We can even provide you with a table to show the payback period which comes in handy when making business decisions.

Are they more cost effective?

Although it may be natural to reach for the cheapest option on the shelf, you need to consider whether this will help or hinder your bank balance, long term. The cost of a standard incandescent bulb tends to sit between £1 – £3. On the other hand, an LED bulb will cost on average between £3 – £6 or more depending on the type.

Upgrading to LED bulbs is a long-term investment that you will reap financial benefits from in the future. However, if the initial high cost puts you off, consider just switching your most used lights first, such as your kitchen and living room. You can then commit to changing all of them later down the line if you feel it is worth it.

Also, consider how likely it is that you will be living in your current house for the next few years. It may not be worth it if you are planning a move in the foreseeable future as you will just end up repeating the process.

Also be aware of the quality of LED lamps, as this can vary a lot. This is a subject in its own right so watch out for a blog article on this in the future.  But as they say, you really do get what you pay for. We recommend to never go cheap!

Final verdict…

Of course, the above reasons make this choice of bulb highly convenient, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle. Less time will be spent worrying about mundane chores such as changing the light bulbs and, as a business owner, you will see it makes great financial sense in the long term. Plus, you will be contributing to saving the environment by using less energy each day.

If switching to LED is something you are interested in, get in touch to discuss your lighting options.

Protecting Your Business with Outdoor Security Lighting

As the days get shorter, it’s more important than ever to make sure your commercial premises remain well lit. Outdoor lighting prevents customers and staff from potential injury (and yourself from a lawsuit), and also protects your business against intruders after dark. Lighting could aid your security surveillance, and even remove or reduce the need for cameras simply by being switched on.

The higher price of more sophisticated lighting technology may seem less appealing to some. However, opting for a cheaper ‘on/off’ or timer switch lights means less protection after hours. Always remember that thieves and trespassers prefer to work under the cover of darkness; they’ll be less likely to enter a well-lit premises.

So what’s out there?

Everyone’s business is unique, and so are their requirements. This means that there are many different types of outdoor security lighting.

  • Halogen floodlights – historically the most commonly used floodlights, halogen lights are bright and affordable, making them an ideal choice when trying to keep costs down.
  • LED floodlights – whilst slightly pricier than the classic halogen bulb floodlights, LED floodlights use around 85% less power than their halogen counterparts and have a longer lifespan, which is why LED is swiftly overtaking halogen as the most popular bulb for outdoor security lighting.
  • Motion Sensor floodlights – Rather than humming away all night, motion sensor switches flick on when they detect movement nearby, and can be fitted to both halogen and LED bulbs. It’s true, they are more expensive than your basic on/off switch but they can save a huge amount of energy. This makes them a wise choice for a long-term investment.
  • Solar Powered floodlights – Instead of sourcing their energy from the mains electricity, these lights have their own fitted solar panels: another great way of reducing that energy bill.
  • Fluorescent floodlights – Energy efficient and long-lasting, fluorescent bulbs are the most commonly used for High Intensity Discharge lights. Able to throw out a bright wash of light covering a large area, HID lights are perfect for car parks and other wide-open commercial spaces.

Now you’ve got an idea of what’s available, here are a few important things to consider before making a purchase.

Finding the best price vs long term saving

A cheaper halogen bulb might seem more attractive at first glance. But consider the longer lifespan and greater efficiency of LED: without the need to keep replacing them, LED lights often save more money in the long run.

Similarly, combining a motion sensor with a fluorescent bulb is not advisable. Increased switching on and off can affect this particular bulb’s lifespan.

Health & safety vs energy efficiency

This is a difficult but crucial balance to strike when planning your security lighting. Of course, every business owner needs to find the most cost-efficient lighting solution. However, this can’t be at the expense of customer and staff safety. Motion sensors often make the most financial sense, but aren’t the best choice for areas with lots of footfall, in case of an accident.

Another example: fluorescent bulbs contain mercury (a highly toxic substance). This means taking extra care if bulbs are broken with people nearby, and careful waste disposal at the end of the bulb’s lifespan. These costly possibilities could be avoided with a different type of light that may be a better fit for your circumstances.

Need help finding the best option for your business?

The most effective strategy is to book a contractor to survey your premises, who can make a recommendation to suit your particular needs.

When it comes to outdoor security lighting, our engineers are committed to helping you find the perfect solution, tailored for your bespoke requirements. Contact us now for a quote, obligation-free.

Challenges of a Christmas Light Switch-On Event 

As Christmas approaches, light displays are beginning to go up in cities and towns around the country in anticipation of a big switch on over the next few weeks. For many, this is when the festive season really kicks off and they can begin counting down the days and making preparations.

Although an incredibly joyful time of year, it is also the time when electrical fires are most common due to illuminated decorations. In order to avoid injury and stay safe this Christmas, it is important to follow the appropriate procedures to ensure no dangerous electrical faults occur.

Main challenges

For large scale lighting displays, such as those that adorn our local towns, there are certain challenges that arise. Being placed in busy areas with hundreds of people walking by each day and night means that it is crucial that all the correct safety precautions are put in place.

The main challenges faced at these events include;

Ensuring electrical safety

Inputting electrical displays into a public arena comes with its risks. The insurance and responsibility of hundreds of people’s safety is a big task to take on, however, it is all worth it for the joy it can bring if done correctly. The main thing to ensure is that any outdoor, fixed electrical lighting is fitted by a registered, NICEIC approved electrician to guarantee that any display complies with the appropriate safety standards.

As your chosen electrician will know, any lights installed outdoors need to be designed for this purpose and be able to withstand extreme weather conditions. It is also a crucial requirement that all outdoor sockets are 30ma RCD (residual current device) protected. This means that if an incident occurs where the cable is cut or damaged, the entire flow of electricity will switch off to avoid shock or injury.

Crowd control

As hundreds of people gather in one place, there needs to be measures in place to manage these crowds. Road closure is necessary to allow room for entertainment and activities such as Christmas market stalls, food vans and funfair rides whilst ensuring the safety of large groups of children and adults. Voluntary wardens tend to be put in place to manage and instruct crowds regarding rules and social behaviour. Also, it is a good idea to have local authorities present to deal with any trouble that may occur.

Keeping energy efficient

When large scale lighting displays are installed all over the country, it is natural to be concerned about the amount of energy this will use. However, as systems develop, there are now plenty of options to ensure a large bill doesn’t rack up.

LED lights are the favoured option these days. They use much less energy and are longer-lasting than incandescent bulbs, lasting for 4,000+ hours. This type of bulb also offers multiple style options, whether you choose string lights to illuminate your shop fronts and trees or festive symbols affixed to the high street lamp posts.

The use of timers will also assist your town or village in saving energy this season. Programming the lights to turn on at dusk and switch off as soon as the sun rises will preserve energy and avoid waste.

Find your local light switch-on

Christmas lights in Oxford Street in London

Hertfordshire loves to celebrate the festive season and cater to all ages, friends and families.

Get these dates in your diary to ensure you don’t miss your local switch-on;

Hatfield – Saturday 16th November 

A Snow White themed event kicking off in the town centre across from White Lion Square, The Arcade and Market Place. 

St Albans – Sunday 17th November

Enjoy Santa’s Grotto, live music, food, drink and fun in the city centre.

Hertford – Friday 22nd November

Annual Christmas gala in the town centre from 3.30pm – 8pm.

Harpenden – Sunday 24th November

The Christmas Carnival is returning to the high street, lights will be switched on at 5pm.

Stevenage – Thursday 28th November

Festive fun and special guests from 4pm onwards in the Town Square. 

Hitchin – Saturday 30th November

Head to 27 Churchyard for a whole afternoon of fun, 12pm until 6pm. 

Or, if you want to go big this year, head to the capital and explore some of London’s best festive light displays.

Choose Point Electrical…

We offer high-quality and cost-effective commercial lighting services to suit your needs. Get in touch and choose us to ensure your Christmas light switch-on goes ahead as safely and efficiently as possible.

Is Your Business Ready for The Rise of The Electric Car?

Electric Car Parking SpaceThe rise of the electric car in the UK is rapidly gathering speed, literally and metaphorically! In a bid to reduce emissions the government has pledged that by 2030 at least half of all new car sales, and at least 40% of all new van sales, will be hybrid or electric. The provision of government subsidies has encouraged more and more car manufacturers to invest in the development of electric vehicles that are as cost-effective to produce as they are to use, and whose performance matches most standard fuel-powered vehicles. The trend for electric vehicles (EVs) has led to a huge rise in the number registered in the UK, from just 3,500 in 2013, to almost 250,000 as of September 2019.

How to get your business electric car ready

The rapidly escalating number of EVs brings with it the necessity for changes to infrastructure in order to provide the required charging stations for the number of vehicles on the road. Service stations across the UK have installed charging stations and charging points are increasingly found on roadsides and service parking bays. Additionally, more and more businesses are investing in the installation of electric car charging points, and are increasing the number of electric car spaces, for employee usage.

The benefits to your business

There are many advantages to installing car charging stations at your place of work:

  • The reduced emissions help your business reduce its carbon footprint and drastically improves energy efficiency
  • The rising cost of fuel means electric cars are a much more cost-efficient option, not to mention the fact that modern EVs are cheaper to produce – a particularly attractive benefit to businesses offering a company car scheme.
  • Businesses prioritising sustainable, forward-thinking and energy-efficient initiatives will be far more attractive to prospective customers and employees

Tesla Car Charging at a point installed on a high streetGovernment grants to support your business

The government’s Workplace Charging Scheme (WPS) has been set up to incentivise businesses to install electric charging stations. The scheme, offered by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, gives businesses a grant of £500 per charge point socket installed and up to a maximum of 20 sockets. So, businesses can benefit of a grant of up to £10,000 toward the cost of installing charging stations for their staff and customers.

Contact Point Electrical for your electric charge point installation

At Point Electrical our trained and certified contractors have extensive experience providing commercial electrical services.  We can provide expert advice on the location of your charging station, infrastructure required and the number of recommended charging points for the size of your business, and a detailed, transparent, no-obligation quote.

As with all our electrical services, our work comes with a 1-year guarantee, and is covered by our customer promise, giving you additional peace of mind.

Contact Point Electrical for a trusted, value for money service to help your business prepare for the rise of the electric car, for the benefit of your staff and customers.

How Will Brexit Affect Your Electricity Prices?

As the UK hurtles towards the Brexit deadline of 31 October, how is leaving the EU likely to affect your electricity prices?

Energy imports from the EU

Up to the end of 2018, the UK was importing around 5% of its electricity from the EU, and 12% of its gas. Energy is supplied via under-sea pipes and wires called interconnectors, and the UK has interconnectors with Belgium, France, Ireland and The Netherlands.

5% may not sound a lot, but this rose to an all-time high of 7% in the first quarter of 2019 after the opening of the interconnector with Belgium and the government intends to increase imports to around 20% by 2025 as it phases out our remaining coal-fired power stations. To that end, interconnectors with Denmark and Norway are being built and a further seven are planned. In short, the UK is becoming more and more dependent on imported energy.

Will my bills go up?

The leaked Operation Yellowhammer report suggests there could be a marked rise in energy prices for UK homes and businesses. Some of the reasons for this are:   Electricity power transmission

  • The absence of trade agreements governing the cross-border flow of electricity will end the frictionless trade we currently enjoy. The costs of any new tariffs imposed on the UK are likely to be passed on to consumers.
  • Transportation and import costs will rise if the UK leaves the EU Internal Energy Market.
  • The EU may reduce its investment in interconnectors with the UK.
  • The UK is currently part of the EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS), which puts a price on carbon through trading of emission permits. Should we leave, a replacement carbon pricing mechanism could prove more costly.
  • The falling value of the pound against the euro could lead to an increase in the market price of electricity.

University College London produced a report which showed a £2 billion rise in UK energy bills after the 2016 referendum, as the pound fell sharply. That translates to a £35 annual increase on the average household electricity bill, with a predicted increase of a further £61 every year thereafter.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, also fears the worst. He said, “The lack of certainty around the future carbon-pricing mechanism as well as the rules underpinning the cross-border trade of electricity and gas create risk, and risk has a price. This situation is likely to create cost pressure that will feed through to customer bills.”

Energy shortages ahead?

Gas-fired power stations in the UK supply 42% of our electricity and much of that gas comes from Europe, so the race is on to increase renewable energy. While our windfarms performed well last winter, we still rely on power from our interconnectors to balance supplies during extreme weather or when wind and solar power is unavailable. Should the continent experience a prolonged cold snap, EU countries could restrict UK access to their energy stores in order to give priority to their own citizens, so it is possible that power shortages could ensue.

Can I protect against price hikes?

You may want to consider reviewing your domestic or commercial installation to make sure it’s as efficient as possible. Our expert engineers would be happy to assist. Contact us for further information.