Summer sunshine seems to bring a smile to even the most hardened of faces. This year we have been blessed with an August to remember and for that I am grateful. I like long sunny days. September has also been sympathetic and the little Indian summer period certainly lifted my spirit. Hopefully you also felt the joy of the warm sea air and colourful sunsets.
Breakfast at The Grand
The thing about a warm summer is the curious gift of inner heat that seems to last right into deepest winter. I was always a child of the summer and the cold damp winters do little for me. I suspect that in a previous life I might have been a grizzly bear. Romping around in the warm summer days before collecting enough berries to see me through the winter hibernation period.
Imagine sleeping through the shockingly cold winters and living off the fatty layers produced in summer. There would be no worries about whether there was enough money in the bank to pay ridiculously high energy bills. You would softly sleep through deep the winter until the warming sun returns for another sparkling summer. That sounds very desirable to me.
I’ve had the cost of home heating very much in mind recently. My old boiler has been a faithful friend for many years but I fear that it has started to ‘eat’ gas. My gas supplier tells me that my gas usage is higher than the national average for my house. That is a worry because I attempt to minimise the amount that is used.
As winter heads this way I know that the large energy companies will announce price increases which will terrify many. It always seems to happen in the same way that often we hear of price reductions as we head into summer. Odd that isn’t it.
One thing that really annoys me is this silly advice from the government to shop around for the best price. That sort of advice is fine if you have the ability to use a computer and can get your head around all the various tariffs. It really is a jungle and can leave even the most agile of minds spinning like a child’s top.
I happened to be at a breakfast event the other morning. This little group of likeminded people meet every two weeks at the Grand Hotel in Torquay. One of the group is a man called Andy Coleman and along with his wife Sue run DEA Torbay. I’ve always respected Andy’s opinion because he tells the truth.
He was speaking about Theresa May’s decision to put Hinkley C on hold. Hinkley C is the huge nuclear power station that is planned near Bridgwater in Somerset. He, Andy, questioned why the move toward green energy seemed to have lost favour. In the south west we are blessed with a ready supply of wind and almost endless wave power.
If you watched the BBC Panorama programme recently about the nuclear recycling plant at Sellafield in Cumbria then you might share Andy’s enthusiasm for green energy. I found it hugely worrying especially after reading an article about the wobbly Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan. Fukushima hit the news when a giant tsunami hit the coast of Japan a few years ago.
It is actually quite difficult to get a clear picture about the Fukushima situation right now but is it clear that considerable health problems continue. Listening to the comments made about our own Sellafield plant made me shiver.
From what was being said at that breakfast meeting I gather that other similar nuclear plants being built overseas are hitting design problems. That has to be a worry and whilst I have no idea as to why our new prime minister has delayed the decision I rather hope that she has all this very much in mind.
I mentioned above that my friend Andy doesn’t spin truth. The spinning of truth really annoys me because it simply confuses the innocent and protects the guilty. When it comes to energy spinning truth is ethically indefensible. For those with enough money not to worry too much about heating the home during the winter then fuel prices don’t matter. For those struggling to stay warm as the sun heads south the price is critical.
For Theresa May and her new government getting energy policy right is absolutely essential. I’ve had it up to the eyes with ‘elegant solutions’ and worry that we are not getting the full story. You have a voice and so might I suggest you start asking questions. We have elected members representing us in Parliament who would love to hear from you.
Be happy and keep the smile!
This is my column in this week's Herald Express 21st September 2016