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Europe is preparing for winter: how can you keep costs down?

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Britain is facing a surge in cold weather, with icy conditions and fog expected for much of this week

The UK Met Office has issued a Yellow warning, which means there could be damage to buildings as Britons brace for cold conditions.

Like much of Europe, the UK are bracing for very strong winds on Wednesday, causing disruption to travel and some utilities.

Drivers are also urged to take extra care on the roads, with warnings in place for icy stretches forming on UK roads.

But some residents who are seeking to heat their homes are on edge, as power prices remain high.

Peter Smith is the director of policy and advocacy at National Energy Action, who said the rising cost of living is impacting Britons.

“The average annual bill has almost doubled since this time last year.”

The organisation seeks to close the gaps when it comes to energy affordability. It predicts 6.7 million UK households will be in fuel poverty in the coming months.

This means millions of Britons will be unable to afford living in a warm, dry and safe home.

“So far the milder than usual weather has protected many from the spiralling bills as they haven’t needed to heat their homes as high or as long as usual,” Mr Smith said.

How to keep warm without blowing your bill

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has urged people to make their own decisions, as he met with world leaders in tropical Bali last week.

“There are things that we can do—all of us—to improve the efficiency with which we use energy, to be careful about it,” he said.

For example, an efficient heater; taking advantage of the sun, where appropriate; and rearranging furniture are some cost-effective methods to reduce the burden on gas and energy bills.

Pipes at the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline are pictured in Germany.

In addition, there are some other cheap ways to reduce dependence on gas and electricity bills, as the temperature continue to plunge.

  • close off rooms you’re not using
  • lower the temperature of heating
  • make sure windows are fully closed
  • block cold drafts from under doors using door snakes or carpet.

The UK Government has placed a cap freeze on energy prices.

This means households will pay an average £2,500 on their energy bills. But there is a catch: if households use more, they pay more.

National Energy Action believes an additional 2.2 million homes could be in fuel poverty, when compared to the same time last year.

Why are energy prices so high?

As demand increases, so too does the cost of heating homes.

But there is another factor, which has sent prices rising across Europe: the war in Ukraine.

Russia accounts for 25% of global gas trade, 15% of global thermal coal trade and 10% of global oil trade.

However, countries are struggling to find alternative supplies after sanctioning Moscow for the ongoing conflict.

“Putin’s abhorrent war in Ukraine, and rising energy prices across the world are not a reason to go slow on climate change. They are a reason to act faster.”

RISHI SUNAK, UK PRIME MINISTER

Germany halted the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was expected to double the amount of Russian gas shipped to Europe.

In July, Russia cut the amount of gas pumped through Nord Stream 1 to 20 per cent capacity.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

Business

Billionaire boss pays for staff holiday to Disney

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The happiest place on earth became home to the happiest staff on earth after a boss paid for a company break

Ken Griffin is the billionaire boss who booked out an entire Disney World for his staff to cap off a successful year.

Mr Griffin is the Chief Executive at Citadel LLC—a multinational hedge fund and financial services company.

He paid for his staff to visit Walt Disney World in Florida for an all-inclusive weekend away.

“We have built the most extraordinary team not only in our history, but also in the history of finance,” he said.

Around 10,000 people attended the three-day celebrations, including families of Griffin’s staff.

He paid for airfares, hotels, parking tickets, meals and entry into the happiest place on earth.

According to The New York Post, the mega-rich boss said the company has lot to look forward to.

“We have an incredible future ahead of us—and I look forward to the chapters yet to be written.”

A range of musical acts also performed, including Coldplay, Carly Rae Jepsen and DJ Diplo, as part of the weekend of celebrations.

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Business

How did Musk lose his title as the world’s richest person?

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Elon Musk has briefly lost his title as the world’s richest person

This is all following a steep drop in the value of his stake in Tesla and his $44 billion purchase of Twitter.

Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, which includes luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, briefly took over the title, with a personal wealth of $185 billion.

Musk has held the top position since late 2021, but has seen his wealth drop, as Tesla investors are worried that he is focused more on Twitter than the electric vehicle company.

Tesla has lost nearly half of its market value and Musk’s value has fallen approximately $70 billion since he made a bid for Twitter back in April.

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Business

Europe plans to bar Meta from using your personal data 

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Europe plans

Europe plans to bar Meta from using your personal data in major ruling

Meta will require permission from its users to serve advertisements based on their personal data, if a confidential EU privacy body has its way.

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has issued the agency that overseas Meta one month to issue the ruling.

This is yet another blow for Meta. The company makes around 98% of its revenue from advertising, equating to $27.16 billion in the third quarter of 2022 alone.

Meta attracts advertisers due to its ability to specifically target users based on their geographical location, age, and interests. But the company has been forced to reduce a number of its targeting options recently.

This is to avoid advertisers from targeting users based on sexual orientation, health, religion, and a number of other personal characteristics.

But this recent move from the EDPB is just another blow for the social media giant. The company also having to weather Apple’s iOS 14 update that allowed users to opt out of off app tracking, further reducing the ability for advertisers to specifically target individuals with ads.

Providing users with further control over their personal data is another evolution in the data rights discussion. The issues has been raised in various articles and documentaries, including The Great Hack

If passed, Meta users will once again be faced with the million-dollar question. Would they prefer tailored ads or ads that may not be relevant?

While regulations around data privacy will continue to evolve, advertising will never cease. This is particularly true for Meta, which relies on advertising revenue for its existence.

By Dr Karen Sutherland, University of the Sunshine Coast and Dharana Digital 

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