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Wales and West Utilities

Utility company urges young people to be ‘CO Aware’

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Wales & West Utilities is using this year’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week to launch a campaign that encourages young people to understand the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) and the steps they can take to stay safe this winter.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week runs from 22-28 November and is organised by the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG). It aims to raise awareness and help consumers and the public to wise up to carbon monoxide.

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As part of the campaign, Wales & West Utilities is specifically targeting 16–25-year-olds, with a simple message – Stay safe from CO or it could be ‘Game Over’.

Carbon monoxide is the silent killer: a poisonous gas that you can’t smell, can’t taste, can’t see or hear. It is produced when any fossil fuel like coal, wood, oil or natural gas doesn’t burn properly.

Breathing it in can make you unwell, and it can kill you if you’re exposed to high levels.  The gas is also associated with a range of health complications, including low birth weight in babies, brain damage and heart disease.

Carbon monoxide poisoning kills 50 people a year in England & Wales and hospitalises many more. In the UK, there are more than 4,000 visits to Accident and & Emergency for treatment of CO poisoning – which can often lead to lasting neurological damage.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, shortness of breath and, in extreme cases, loss of consciousness.

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To stay safe Wales & West Utilities is urging people to:

  • Know the symptoms.
  • Get yourself an audible carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Make sure you get your gas appliances serviced annually – that includes gas boilers, gas cookers and gas water heaters.
  • In a medical emergency, don’t delay, call 999 immediately.

Clive Book, Head of Emergency Services at Wales & West Utilities, explains: “Young people aged 16-25 are often leaving their family home for the first time: going to university, setting up their own home or starting a family. Research shows they are less likely than other age groups to have an audible carbon monoxide alarm, and few realise the importance of having their gas appliances regularly serviced.  

“We do everything we can to raise awareness of the deathly dangers of carbon monoxide – the ‘silent killer’. 

“We urge everyone to stay gas safe by getting an audible carbon monoxide alarm and be sure to get all gas appliances serviced annually including gas boilers, cookers and water heaters…. or it could be Game Over.” 

You can find out more about Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week on Twitter using the hashtag #COAW21.

Barry Sheerman MP, Co-Chair of APCOG said: “I am urging everyone to understand the dangers posed by carbon monoxide. Each year in November, Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is held to raise awareness of what you can do to stay safe and protect your family. Number one is getting your appliances serviced and investing in a carbon monoxide alarm. But if that’s not affordable for you, there are still simple things you can do to stay safe. Learn the signs that carbon monoxide could be around and save the Gas Emergency Service number 0800 111 999 on to your phone today – it could save a life!”

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Education

Primary pupils challenged to get creative in warning others about carbon monoxide

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Primary school pupils across Wales are being urged to get creative in promoting carbon monoxide safety.

The call comes as Wales & West Utilities, alongside the UK’s other gas networks, launches an annual ‘Get Creative, Be Safe’ competition, which invites youngsters to come up with creative ways to inform others about the deathly dangers of carbon monoxide (CO).

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As part of the competition, primary pupils are urged to put their creativity to the test using any form of media, such as eye-catching cartoons, videos, models, short stories or poems, to warn of the dangers of CO poisoning – and how to avoid them.

Carbon monoxide (CO), known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it, kills 50 people a year in England and Wales and hospitalises many more. In the UK, there are more than 4,000 visits to Accident and & Emergency for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning – which can often lead to lasting neurological damage. Even low levels of exposure over an extended period can cause serious health issues, including brain injuries.

Wales & West Utilities Head of Emergency Service, Clive Book, said: “The competition is a great way of helping youngsters understand the importance of gas safety in a fun and engaging way.

“We want people to stay safe from the deathly dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and this competition is a great way to make sure everyone can Stay Gas Safe while spreading the gas safety message.”

As part of the competition youngsters will be in with a chance to win money for both themselves and their school or organisation.

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Wales & West Utilities will judge entries and pick four area winners – two from Key Stage 1 and 2 in both Wales and south west England – who will personally receive £150 and £300 for their school / organisation (which can include uniformed organisations such as Cubs or Brownies).

The regional winners will go forward to a national final, where they have a chance to win a further £300 for themselves and £600 for their school / organisation.

Entries must be submitted in the form of a JPEG photograph or coloured scan or as a link/attachment (if entry is in video or digital form), and emailed along with the entrant’s name, age, school/organisation and post code to: COcompetition@wwutilities.co.uk  

Entries must be received by 27 May 2022. More information can be found at: wwutilities.co.uk/GetCreativeBeSafe

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, shortness of breath and, in extreme cases, loss of consciousness. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to those of food poisoning and the flu. However, unlike the flu, carbon monoxide poisoning does not cause a high temperature (fever).

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To stay safe, people are urged to:

  • Make sure that gas appliances are serviced annually: that includes gas boilers, gas cookers and gas water heaters.
  • Know the signs of carbon monoxide: Look out for your gas appliances burning a floppy yellow or orange, not crisp and blue; pilot lights on boilers frequently blowing out; extra condensation inside your window; soot or yellow stains around appliances.
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: similar to the flu or food poisoning without a high temperature.
  • Get an audible carbon monoxide alarm in every room with a gas appliance and test it regularly.
  • If your alarm sounds, or you suspect carbon monoxide, take action: move outside into fresh air, leaving doors and windows open as you go. Then call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999. In a medical emergency, don’t delay, call 999 immediately.

(Lead image: Wales and West Utilities)

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Milford Haven

World-first smart hydrogen hybrid heating system unveiled in Pembrokeshire

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The world’s first smart hydrogen hybrid heating system has been demonstrated in Pembrokeshire proving technology that could help the UK get to Net Zero.

The trial was part of the UK Research and Innovation-funded Milford Haven: Energy Kingdom project. It was successfully implemented by a collaboration of partners – Port of Milford Haven, Passiv UK, Wales & West Utilities, Kiwa UK, Worcester Bosch, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, and Pembrokeshire County Council.

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The trial combined a hydrogen-fuelled boiler with an electric air-source heat pump alongside smart control technology and it was conducted in a commercial building at the Port of Milford Haven, the UK’s largest energy Port.

According to The Energy Saving Trust, emissions from home heating and hot water need to be cut by 95% to meet 2050 UK Net Zero targets, and hybrid heating technology will become increasingly important both for commercial and domestic customers.

Hybrid heating systems can flexibly switch between using renewable electricity when it’s available, and green gases like hydrogen at other times. Using clean fuel in this way will enable the full decarbonisation of heat whilst ensuring cost and carbon emissions reductions are prioritised.

For many existing homes and businesses, hybrid heating systems offer an affordable and practical way to decarbonise heating. Research suggests that almost 50% of UK properties are not suitable for standalone heat pumps due to their poor thermal properties and other limitations. [1]For example, many of the UK’s aged housing stock would need disruptive and expensive energy efficiency improvements such as wall and floor insulation and new radiators to be effectively heated by a standalone heat pump system. Hybrid heating systems are a cheaper, and less disruptive alternative that can be fitted as a quick and direct replacement to a typical boiler system.

In this demonstration, Kiwa UK delivered bottled hydrogen to the Worcester Bosch boiler to simulate periods when renewable electricity was unavailable to run the heat pump, or when a temperature boost was required. The smart controls were designed by Passiv UK and integrated with the system seamlessly, automatically switching between the air source heat pump and the hydrogen boiler. Every 2 minutes the system assesses GB energy generation mix and renewable electricity availability on the local grid, and requests the boiler to run on hydrogen when unavailable. Hydrogen is a clean fuel that produces zero carbon emissions during combustion.

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The hydrogen boiler installed as part of the hybrid system was developed by engineers at Worcester Bosch during the last 3 years as part of the BEIS-funded Hy4Heat project, designed to help the country achieve its target of Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Steve Edwards, Commercial Director at the Port of Milford Haven, said: “Having already established itself as the UK’s Energy Capital, the Milford Haven Waterway is now at the centre of a renewable energy revolution, with huge potential to become the low carbon energy capital of the UK, safeguarding thousands of local jobs and creating thousands more new ones.

“To get to Net Zero, we must deliver Net Zero power, transport and heat and we have all the necessary components here on our doorstep in Pembrokeshire to act as a vital cluster of national significance”.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas network for Wales and south west England are one of the project partners.

Matt Hindle, Head of Net Zero and Sustainability said: “We’re committed to playing our part in helping communities across Wales and south west England go green. Between 2021 and 2026 we’re investing £400m to prepare our network to transport green gas like hydrogen and biomethane.”

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“Hybrid heating systems can be easily retrofitted to existing housing stock, without costly changes to radiators or internal pipework, keeping disruption to homes and communities to a minimum. This trial has demonstrated how they can work with hydrogen in place of natural gas.”

“The UK Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy acknowledged that hybrids could play a transitional role in the 2020s and 2030s but contained no targets for their manufacture or installation. The 2020s must be a decade of delivery for Net Zero and we’d urge Government and policymakers to include hybrids in incentives and support schemes like the Clean Heat Grant, encouraging installations of hybrids to help towards achieving the 600,000 heat pumps per year target, alongside ongoing support to develop hydrogen for heating.”

Cllr Cris Tomos, Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, Welsh Language and Public Protection said: “The Council is proud to lead the Milford Haven: Energy Kingdom project which is positioning the Milford Haven Waterway as a frontrunner for the production, distribution and use of hydrogen. The projects heating and transport demonstrators demonstrate what can be achieved through collaboration with our partners and Pembrokeshire can use these innovations as we work to become a net zero carbon authority by 2030.”

The Milford Haven: Energy Kingdom project is one of the detailed design projects within the Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme of works funded by UK Research and Innovation as part of their Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The project has set out to design a blueprint for smart local energy systems fuelled by renewable energy and hydrogen, and more specifically how to create demand and make the distribution and use of green hydrogen financially viable within buildings, industry, power and transport.

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Tom Veli, Project Director at Passiv UK said: “Flexibility solutions such as the Passiv UK smart hydrogen hybrid heating control offers the ability to make use of renewable electricity when cheap and plentiful, to warm up the building fabric, and then fall back on hydrogen as an alternative fuel during more expensive periods of peak demand for electricity.”

“Responding to renewable generation and network requirements in real time enables demand to become more agile as opposed to static, creating carbon savings, customer savings and commercial opportunities for a smarter, decentralised grid that is powered fully by renewable energy. The Milford Haven: Energy Kingdom Project is a great example of this.”

Carl Arntzen, CEO at Worcester Bosch said: “Last year our prototype hydrogen boiler was showcased in a domestic setting in Gateshead, but this is the first ever commercial application of the technology, the first hydrogen hybrid, and the first retrofit of a hydrogen boiler into an existing building.

“Within the hybrid heating system, the hydrogen can be used to boost heating during cold snaps, and to lessen demand on the electricity system during busy periods, or when there isn’t enough renewable energy available.

“For 50 years boilers have burned natural gas so to switch to hydrogen, which is a gas that is free from carbon, while maintaining heating and hot water in the same way as a traditional boiler is truly amazing.”

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Mark Crowther, Technical Director of Kiwa UK said: “We are very happy to have been part of this project, in organising the test work and preparing the Safety Case. This is a further demonstration of the future of hydrogen and builds on work under the BEIS Hy4Heat programme and many other experimental hydrogen projects we have worked on.”

Dr Stephen Wyatt, Research & Innovation Director of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, one of the lead partners in the project, added: “This world first is both an important milestone for the project, but crucially provides a concrete example of how we can achieve the energy transition using technologies which are readily deployable in our existing building stock.

“ORE Catapult is particularly excited about the potential for breakthrough hydrogen technologies to provide increased flexibility to the way we consume electricity, as we deliver greater amounts of green, affordable offshore wind off the coast of Wales and beyond”.

Lead image: Converting the existing gas system to hydrogen (Image: Pembrokeshire Council)

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Charity

iPad donation helps communities across Wales

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Communities up and down the country are benefitting after a donation of more than 80 iPads have made their way to charities, community groups, organisations, and schools.

Gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, answered a call from Business in the Community (BITC), the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, which sought to match communities in need with businesses who could help to address digital poverty during the height of the pandemic.

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As a long-standing supporter of BITC, Wales & West Utilities was able to identify technology that it no longer had use for but was still in good working order, to donate to organisations so that, in turn, local people across Wales could benefit.

The link up between BITC and Wales & West Utilities has meant more than 80 iPads have been donated during the past few months. Organisations to benefit have included Ysgol Gynradd GymraegBodringalltMarshfield Primary School, Family Friends Wrexham, Safe Families and Voluntary Action Merthyr Tydfil (VAMT).

Nigel Winnan, Customer & Social Obligations Strategy Manager at Wales & West Utilities, said: “With technology evolving quickly we often have a surplus of iPads and laptops that we no longer have a use for but are still in a good condition. When BITC put out their call for help and support we were only too happy to help.

“We are delighted that these iPads have been distributed across Wales – to organisations that really need them. We’re thrilled they will be used in a number of ways from improving learning outcomes of children to increasing employability skills amongst adults.”

Sue Husband, Wales Director at Business in the Community, said: “At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, BITC’s National Business Response Network supported hundreds of local organisations across the UK, by organising skilled volunteers and donations of essential resources including food, clothing and technology. It is through generous contributions from businesses like Wales & West Utilities, that many Welsh communities have been supported in what has been a very difficult twenty-four months for many.  

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“Donations like these iPads make a significant difference to people’s lives. A lack of technology and digital infrastructure are some of the biggest barriers preventing both adults and children from reaching their full potential. But with more businesses working with us to provide donations and skilled volunteers, the number of people benefiting will continuously increase, which demonstrates the important role that the private sector plays in supporting communities.”

(Lead image: Wales and West Utilities)

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