Hinkley C: NOT (yet) a done deal

“Plans to build the first new UK nuclear plant in 20 years have suffered an unexpected delay after the government postponed a final decision until the early autumn.

French firm EDF, which is financing most of the £18bn Hinkley Point project in Somerset, approved the funding at a board meeting.

Contracts were to be signed on Friday.

But Business Secretary Greg Clark has said the government will “consider carefully” before backing it.

According to reports, EDF’s chief executive Vincent de Rivaz has cancelled a trip to the UK on Friday following Mr Clark’s comments.

Critics of the plan have warned of environmental damage and potential escalating costs.

They are also concerned that the plant is being built by foreign governments. One third of the £18bn cost is being provided by Chinese investors.

EDF still hopes to have more than 2,500 workers on site by next year.
Announcing the approval of investment earlier, EDF described the plant as “a unique asset for French and British industries”, saying it would benefit the nuclear sectors in both countries and would give a boost to employment. …”


Hinkley C: if it brings 5,000 jobs, where are the other 20,000 promised by the LEP coming from?

On Spotlight tonight, the spokesperson for Hinkley C said that it would bring 5,000 jobs to the Devon and Somerset area (presumably mostly in Somerset).

However, our LEP says:

Hinkley Point C will see investment of by EDF of £20m in training, education and skills in the Heart of the South West. By the time the project is completed, we expect to see 25,000 new employment opportunities with 5,600 people and 400 apprentices employed at its peak. Over the lifetime of the project, over £2bn will go into our area’s economy.”

Click to access Non-tech%20summary%20-%20FINAL.pdf

How do these numbers stack up – 25,000 jobs but 6,000 at its peak? What happens to the other 19,000 jobs? Zero hours? Or is it 19,000 people doing education, training and skills for 5,000 jobs!!!

EDF board member resigns as company expected to vote to construct Hinkley C

“A board member of the French energy giant EDF has resigned ahead of a vote to give the green light to construction of the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset.

Gerard Magnin, one of 18 board members, quit today saying that the £18bn project is too financially risky for EDF and will divert France away from investment in renewable energy.

Is support for Hinkley nuclear plant Philip Hammond’s first bad move?
The resignation of Magnin, who has a background in alternative energy, is not expected to derail EDF’s approval for the project today.

But it signals growing doubts about Hinkley Point and the financial capacity for EDF to deliver the UK’s first new nuclear power station in 20 years.

The firm’s chief financial officer, Thomas Piqemal, resigned in March over the project, saying it would jeopardise EDF’s financial situation.

“As a board member proposed by the government shareholder, I no longer want to support a strategy that I do not agree with,” Magnin wrote in a letter to EDF chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy which has been seen by Reuters.

EDF is listed on the French stock exchange but the French state retains an 81 per cent stake.

When the project to build a state-of-the art European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) on the Somerset coast was originally outlined in October 2014 EDF was only supposed to take a 50 per cent stake.

The rest was supposed to be financed by Chinese state companies and another majority state-owned French-nuclear engineering firm Areva.

But Areva has subsquently stumbled financially and its nuclear unit has been absorbed by EDF. And the Chinese have said they will fund no more than a third of the project, leaving EDF to finance 66 per cent of Hinkely Point.

Since January 2015 EDF’s share price has fallen by 50 per cent and its market capitalisation is just €22bn, less than the entire Hinkley Point project value.

The company, which has €37.4bn of debt, also needs to spend €50bn to upgrade its French nuclear plants over the next decade.

“Let’s hope that Hinkley Point will not drag EDF in the same abyss as Areva” said Magnin in his letter.

EDF unions have six seats on the board and have suggested they might vote against the Hinkley Point investment, arguing that it could jeopardise the company’s future.

The Hinkley Point reactor is also controversial in the UK as the UK government has agreed to buy electricity from the plant for 35 years at a price that is more than twice current market rates.”


Cranbrook: what can happen when you are tied to one district heating energy supplier

From the Cranbrook Town Council Facebook page:

Your Town Council recently brought a matter to the attention of E.ON that their annual energy service charge not changing other than by inflation contradicts the residents’ Customer Supply Agreement. Following our initiative, E.ON have now reviewed what the residents have been charged up until 31 March 2016, against what they would have been charged up to the same date, had they priced your energy service charge in line with inflation. We understand that residents will receive a letter stating how much has been credited to their Heat account and if you are affected by this you will receive a credit on your account in July.”

Claire Wright acts quickly on Lloyds Bank closures

Although Claire Wright is appealing on behalf of Ottery St Mary, this could equally apply to all the smaller towns of East Devon:

Following the devastating news this morning about Lloyds Bank proposing to axe 3000 jobs and close 200 branches I have written to the bank’s chief executive, Antonio Osorio…….

Dear Mr Osorio

I was dismayed to read the news this morning about your decision to close 200 branches of Lloyds Bank with a loss of 3000 jobs.

I realise that this must have been a horribly difficult decision to make as it will cause much hardship for your staff and for the communities where branches are closed.

I felt I must write straightaway however, to implore you not to shut our Lloyds branch here in Ottery St Mary.

Ottery’s branch is the only bank now left in the town, which has a population (including nearby villages) of around 10,000. Hundreds of new houses are given planning consent and will be built in the coming months and years.

I know from talking to local people and traders that they really value your bank and whenever I pass it, it always seems busy.

The town’s traders unsurprisingly are finding things tough during these difficult times and several businesses have closed in recent times. If Lloyds closed here it would make things harder for them, as they would need to take a 10 mile round trip to either Sidmouth or Honiton to do their banking, potentially several times a week.

Ottery also has a large proportion of elderly people, many of whom do not have their own transport. I know that many elderly people living here rely on being able to bank in the town. Closing it would mean a 10 mile round trip on public transport. Fine for a fit person but potentially very hard for someone who is not in the best of health or who is infirm. Elderly people would be very disadvantaged by such a decision.

I realise that wherever you close branches people will be upset, but I would urge you to keep Ottery’s branch open for the reasons above.

Kind regards

Best wishes

Mr Osorio’s email address is antonio.osorio@lloydsbanking.com – please drop him a line urgently if you can, saying how much Lloyds means to you and what it would mean to you if lost!


American view on Hinkley C: “a radioactive white elephant”

“… Under the terms of a deal struck in 2013, British electricity customers will fund large guaranteed payments to EDF for 35 years in return for the French utility shouldering much of the construction risk for Hinkley Point. Because of lower projections for future wholesale electricity prices these subsidies are estimated to have risen to a staggering 30 billion pounds.” …


Does EVERYONE ignore our Police and Crime Commissioner

The official Facebook page has many posts from Ms Hernandez but only a small handful of comments, most of them negative. The Twitter account seems similarly sparse.

Not a good start for someone who said she was going to use social media to engage with the public.

Wonder what Mrs May thinks of these non-jobs?

OFCOM wants rural broadband volunteers to inform them of ” challenges” to service

Telecoms watchdog seeks rural volunteers

TELECOMS watchdog Ofcom wants rural people to tell it about the broadband challenges they face.

Ofcom said it wanted to find out more about the “rural broadband experience” by encouraging rural people to join its research panel.

Ofcom said it existed to make communications markets work for everyone. One of the ways it did so was by conducting research to find out about the customer experience across the UK.

Each year, Ofcom reports its findings in its flagship Connected Nations report – which provides a snapshot of the state of the UK communication network.

To inform this and wider work, Ofcom is calling for volunteers to sign up to join its expanded research panel of broadband customers.

Ofcom said it was “particularly looking to sign up more people who live in rural areas in order find out more about the challenges they face”.
Potential participants are encouraged to sign up via Ofcom’s partner’s website at


Volunteers who meet Ofcom’s sample requirements will be sent a unit to plug into a mains socket and connect to their home broadband router.

Further details of the sign-up process are set out below.

1. Broadband users sign up to take part in the research by completing an online form on SamKnows, Ofcom’s technical partner’s website here: https://signups.samknows.com/ofcom/

2. SamKnows compares these volunteers to Ofcom’s sample plan, which is designed to ensure that the panel is statistically robust and nationally representative. Please note that not all of those who volunteer to take part in the research will be selected.

3. Those who fit Ofcom’s sample plan will be asked to complete an online end-user licence agreement.

4. Volunteers are then sent a whitebox hardware measurement unit that they plug into a mains socket and connect to their home broadband router using the provided cable.

Please note that the whitebox will not interfere with the panellist’s connection as it only runs tests when the connection is not in use, and it does not monitor what the panellist uses their connection for.
Further detailed information about the process can be found at https://signups.samknows.com/ofcom/faq

If you have any questions or would like further information about this work, contact Jose Kurian at jose.kurian@ofcom.org.uk.


Problems in East Devon can also be referred to EDDC’s broadband czar, Councillor Phil Twiss …

Hinkley C doesn’t make sense

And yet our Local Enterprise Partnership and its devolution deal puts it at the heart of their plans – not surprising given the nuclear interests of several LEP members:

” … Hinkley C had been described as “the most expensive object on Earth” many months before the National Audit Office (NAO) revealed that subsidies would be nearly five times as big as had been previously advertised. The avalanche of subsidies has produced an ongoing state aid dispute with the UK launched by Austria, a new state aid investigation by the European commission into the reactor builder Areva, and a potential state aid dispute over France’s plans to make up EDF’s credit shortfall on the project.

Hinkley C has now become so uneconomic that it has been condemned in editorials in the normally pro-nuclear Times, Telegraph and Mail, and many EDF executives and employees think it might be a bad enough plan to completely destroy the state-owned utility.

On Thursday EDF’s board will make a widely trailed decision on whether to proceed with this “investment”. After years of delay, this unseemly hurry looks a bit like panic.

The tide has been turning against Hinkley ever since the problems at Olkiluoto in Finland and Flammanville in France, Hinkley’s elder siblings, became horribly apparent. Now, with a new UK government not so publicly committed to the project, EDF may be feeling that its chances of getting Hinkley built are likely to diminish even more quickly. Osborne seemed willing to countenance almost anything in his desperation to get his legacy built, but Philip Hammond might look at thte figures and the alternatives, and start looking for a way out.

To be clear, the Hinkley subsidies are not bungs to power brokers or inexplicable government largesse; Hinkley’s problems are so severe and so numerous that it requires potentially illegally high levels of state support in order for it to be built. Listing them all – the legal risks, the engineering risks, the liability risks, the credit risks, the safety risks – would take so long there would probably be some new ones before I’d finished. But they all spring from a reactor design, which has so far proved impossible to make work, and has even been described as “unconstructable” by an engineering professor.”