December is always a month full of celebrations for everyone at EEC Home Improvements and this year hasn’t let us down so far. Every year EEC sponsors the local charity event Fisticuffs and Cufflinks, our sister company Fireguard Developments also joined in on the action this year with our new development European House as the headline sponsor.

This year was bigger and better than ever before with not one but two of the EEC’s team members fighting for victory in the ring. Our boxing superstar Installations director Ewan Maclean returned to the ring for the third time. We also had a newcomer solar PV installer Barry Graham whose first fight lead him straight to victory!

We had two tables packed with the EEC team and even more were completed by companies EEC work alongside, they came especially to support our two competitors. On behalf of them both we want to use this opportunity to thank you all so much for the support that was offered not only for them but also to help in raising money for our charities.

As always the event was at Southport’s theatre and convention centre, which was bursting at the seams with the event being a complete sell out with the whole room packed with crowds cheering on the boxers. Every year the fighting duels exceed the years before with the fighters putting in more and more hours of training to prepare themselves.

Not only do the fights get better each year but the spectators also excel each year. The passion from each and everyone of the audience, cheering on their chosen warrior was incredible and definitely encouraged the fighters to push their performance to a whole new level. Fisticuff and Cufflinks also had not one but three special VIP guests in attendance Georgia Harrison from Love Island, Sid Owen from Eastenders and Gatsby from TOWIE. Sid has been friends with EEC’s CEO for years and is now a regular attendee at the EEC events.

The event raised £1,000, which we will be splitting between two amazing charities Southport’s Queenscourt Hospice and Liverpool’s neonatal special care unit. We have continually supported Queenscourt Hospice over the years raising over £7,500 so far. The hospice has cared for a family member of nearly every person in Southport at some point, which is why we are so passionate to continue to help them fund their amazing care.

We want to thank you all so much for attending the event and hope to see you all next year but for now let us wish you all a Merry Christmas and a fabulous 2018!

European Environmental Controls 27th Birthday

This year European Environmental Controls will be celebrating our 27th birthday, something which we are all incredibly proud of! To celebrate this momentous occasion we are going to be throwing a party full of prosecco and cake for all of our hard working staff members. We are also going to be posting a series of blogs celebrating our company and letting you all in on the history of EEC.

 

This birthday is extra special for us as not only are we celebrating our birthday we are celebrating all of the hard work that the long standing EEC team members have put in over the years. Thanks to the amazing people who make up EEC we have been able to ensure EEC have managed to keep running smoothly when the rest of the solar market has been through a rocky time.

 

We have interviewed some of our longest serving staff and every one of them has highlighted the fact that EEC has been able to adapt to market changes over the years. A great quote from Alex our Sales manager who has worked here for over 11 years “EEC have always moved with the times to be front runners in the industry”. Duffy our call center manager (who has worked here even longer than Alex over 16 years!!) has mirrored Alex’s statement, pointing out that everything now a days moves at such a fast pace EEC Solar’s success is because we are also moving fast to provide our customer’s with the newest technologies.

EEC’s Macmillan World Largest Coffee Morning

Every September of every year EEC Solar take part in Macmillan’s worlds largest coffee morning, it is by far our most eagerly anticipated dress down day for the EEC Solar team who love all the tasty treats!

 

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event for people facing cancer. People and businesses all over the UK host their own Coffee Mornings and donations on the day are made to Macmillan. Last year alone £29.5 million was raised compared to the day’s humble beginnings. The first ever Coffee Morning happened way back in 1990. It was a rather small affair with a simple idea: guests would gather over coffee and donate the cost of their cuppa to Macmillan in the process. It was so effective; they did it again the next year – only this time nationally. Since then, Coffee Morning has raised over £165.5 million for Macmillan.

All of the EEC Solar team are so generous year on year donating cakes from home baked cakes full of character to delicious shop bought we are so thankful for everyone’s generosity. This year we had the most daring cake that we have ever seen a 3d aero bubble cake kindly donated by our lovely receptionist Lily who’s auntie made this marvellous creation. Not only did it look the part but it also tasted amazing! Tim Hillman who has donated a cake each year didn’t let us down this year and brought us in a delicious homemade victoria sponge cake.

 

There are now 2.5 million peo ple in the UK living with cancer. By 2030, it will be 4 million people. One in three of us will get cancer, and it will be one of the toughest things we’ll ever have to face. Our goal is to make sure no one faces cancer alone. Macmillan provide medical, emotional, practical and financial support, as well as campaigning for better cancer care.

EEC Solar are dedicated to continue supporting this amazing cause and we are already looking forward to next years Coffee Morning. This year we raised an incredible £70.69 as always we would like to thank the EEC Solar team for their on-going generosity to each cause that we decide to support.

EEC Charity Team complete 8th Tough Mudder

This weekend (9th September 2017) 4 EEC team members completed ANOTHER Tough Mudder! It seems like EEC staff are starting to get hooked on extreme sporting events, Ewen one of EEC’s directors just completed a Coast-to-Coast bike ride over 48 hours and then took part in another Tough Mudder (his 6th to date).

EEC have a small group of ‘legionnaires’ (a legionnaire is someone who has completed more than 1 Tough Mudder) however this weekend was a first for some of the EEC team Lily EEC’s lovely switchboard handler took part in her first Tough Mudder event gaining the famous orange headband. A massive well done to Lily, Tough Mudder is a daunting challenge and the whole team have commended Lily on how well she did during the fun but gruelling course.

The charity division spoke to Lily to see what she thought about her first Tough Mudder experience. Lily said that she ‘absolutely loved her first Tough Mudder and is definitely set on completing another in the near future although she is planning on training more next time.’

Her favourite obstacle was Arctic Enema a plunge pool filled with ice and freezing cold water Lily said even though it shocked her body it was refreshing to help her keep on going. To relax after the challenge Lily enjoyed her free cider at the finish line and tucked into a well-earned Chinese with the other girls who finished the event.

EEC’s Alex our renewables team manager who could definitely be considered as addicted to TM and has completed his 8th Tough Mudder ‘HooRarr’, including the Dublin Tough Mudder anyone who has even completed one Tough Mudder will know how hard it is to get round the course but to do 8 is incredible so a huge well done to Alex.

We also had a chat with Alex about his incredible achievement he said ‘Having done his first Tough Mudder in 2014 taking part in Tough Mudder is becoming easier the more he does, especially as he is now training more than ever, his target is to reach 10 Tough Mudder’s and earn that black and orange headband, he is also now looking to take things to the next level and take part in the Toughest Mudder’.

Toughest Mudder is an 8-hour night event were participants loop the course multiple times from midnight to 8am, if the participants cover 50 miles during the 8 hours they are invited to the worlds Toughest Mudder in Las Vegas which is a 24 hour course.

Alex is all about teamwork and states there is no ‘i’ in team – a saying that EEC loves! Alex loved helping the teams first timers around the course saying everyone stuck together to get the course finished leaving nobody behind. As a Tough Mudder legionnaire Alex enjoyed all of the obstacles and was surprised to see a new one Augustus Gloop which he said is definitely his new favourite. Like Lily, Alex also enjoyed a drink to wind down after the event with his teammate Ewen known on the day as ‘Rewen’.

Everyone at EEC are definitely looking forward to the next!

Check out our New Offices / Warehouse

It has been a very busy year here at EEC Home Improvements, in July 2016 we moved into our brand new offices and we are now expanding even further building a new warehouse mainly for our renewable energy divisions, there isn’t many solar companies out there building new warehouses!.

Our old offices had been the main head quarters for EEC home since 1991 even though we have only moved half a mile away it was a big change for the team. But the move has allowed EEC to enter into a new and modern way of life, which has been for the better as we have gone from strength to strength in the ever changing solar market.

The whole experience has definitely brought the EEC team together which is something that the rest of the company would agree with. On the weekend of the move it was all hands on deck moving everything we could from the old premises, with everyone helping each other within all of our different departments. We ended the weekend on a high cheering to our new premises with a glass of prosecco in hand.

Our new modern offices include a new call centre, customer service department, board room, general offices, managerial offices and a new monitoring station which is a state-of-the-art purpose built hub central for all incoming calls from our 24-hour monitored alarms and care units.

After a couple of months of adjusting to our new working life in our shiny new offices the EEC team are loving our new working environment especially the outdoor ping pong area and bigger car park! EEC now holds it’s very own ping pong tournaments on a daily basis.  Last but not least it’s become time to bring over the warehouse team, they are getting the biggest treat of all, a purpose built state-of-the-art warehouse. Building work for the warehouse started in January 2017 and the warehouse team will be moving in very soon after the final touches have been added.

We welcome any customers to visit our new offices which are at 140 Norwood Road, Southport, PR8 6EH.

We’re Running the 2017 London Marathon

The nights are drawing longer and Spring is just around the corner, which means it’s almost London marathon time which will be held on the 23rd April 2017.

This year we have only 1 marathon runner employee from EEC with several staff being unsuccessful in this years ballot, our runner is running in aid of Queenscourt Hospice, Southport. This is a hugely supported charity by EEC and over the years we have raised thousands for the worthy cause.

Our runner wont be alone as our Managing Directors wife will also be pounding the pavements of London in April helping to raise money for Queenscourt Hospice.

The brave runners will take on the challenge with a close friend the three ladies together are hoping to raise over £2,000.00 with the support of EEC and Barclays Bank in Southport. As well as sponsorships from many of EEC’s staff members EEC are also holding a dress down day on Friday 25th March where in exchange for a minimum donation of £1.50 all EEC office staff can come to work in sports wear and ‘118 outfits’ and to entice the staff to dig even deeper there will be cakes and glasses of prosecco on sale.

Training has been agruelling process which they will readily admit, training has been ongoing since November 2016, with sacrifices being made such as no alcohol since November, training at all hours of the day and night through ice, snow, wind and rain its been tough to say the least, but with just over 4 weeks to go the end is in sight and even more so the bottle of prosecco is at the finish line waiting with their gold well earned medal.

We also wish EEC’s head builder’s daughter, Radio 1’s very own DJ Adele Roberts the best of luck enduring in the gruelling 26.2 miles along the London streets.

Good Luck to everyone running the London Marathon 2017

 

 

EEC’S Charity Christmas Extravaganza!

Staff at EEC have nearly raised a whopping £5,000 this year and to thank them for all their hard work, support and dedication we decided to put on a Christmas Extravaganza – Bucks Fizz, Christmas treats and our very own EEC Charity Awards! To motivate everyone to dress up in their best Christmas jumpers, flashing earrings, musical headbands and flashing Christmas lights we also offered a free raffle ticket to everyone who dressed up on the day to win an Android watch, £20 cash, scratch cards or wine!

We’ve put up the office Christmas tree, decorated the charity wall in Christmas wrapping paper and decorations and sent out the charity Christmas cards. All that there was left to do was to party!

This year EEC has gone all out once again with a jam-packed year of fundraising events, dress-down days and activities. We’ve supported over 12 different charities from national ones like the British Heart Foundation and Breast Cancer Care to local causes such as Queenscourt Hospice, Claire House Children’s Hospice and the Woodland Animal Sanctuary. We’ve done an Easter Egg collection, come to work in wigs, cycled from Manchester to Liverpool, joined in with the Star Trekk night walk in Southport, done triathlons, 2 Tough Mudders and one of the team even ran 26.2 miles in the Virgin Money London Marathon! What a year it’s been!

EEC Christmas Jumper Day

2016 sets an even bigger challenge for the home improvement company. The CEO, Mr John Ball and 4 other members of staff have secured 5 places in the ultimate fundraising challenge – the prestigious Virgin London Marathon. With two official own places and 3 charity gold bond places the company are trying to raise a mammoth £4,200 for the charity ‘Kids’ who provide support and care, to disabled children and young people all over the UK.

Kids is a national charity that was set up to run vital life changing services to disabled children and young people, aged 0 – 25 and their families. Their purpose is to enable children and young people with special education needs and disabilities to enjoy their lives and achieve their ambitions, whilst providing support and guidance to their families. The charity support over 8,000 disabled children, young people and their families through delivering 125 services across England. It is a totally unique charity in the fact that there is no other organisation dedicated to providing such an extensive range of services to disabled children and young people, irrespective of their impairment or condition.

EEC Christmas Jumper Day

Their aim is to:

  • equip parents with extra skills and confidence to nurture and develop their disabled child
  • enable disabled children to have a happy childhood
  • support teenagers and young adults to develop practical, social and interpersonal skills, challenge discrimination and achieve their goals
  • provide parents with support and breaks from the pressures of caring for a disabled child
  • provide fun activities and support for siblings of disabled children and young carers
  • assist local authorities and other organisations in making their facilities accessible and welcoming to all disabled children and young people.

Since the company started fundraising just over two and a half years ago they have raised a massive £19,405.50 for various local and national charities which is a really great achievement.

EEC Christmas Jumper Awards

EEC would like to wish everybody whose supported us and all the charities we support a very ‘Merry Christmas’!

Breaking: Government sets future domestic feed-in tariff rate at 4.39p per kWh.

The British Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on December 17th, 2015 announced its final decision on the new Feed-in Tariff rates for 2016 and beyond, just days after the historic Paris Agreement was agreed at the UN conference.
Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association (STA, Milton Keynes, UK), said: “Government has partially listened. It’s not what we needed, but it’s better than the original proposals, and we will continue to push for a better deal for what will inevitably be a more consolidated industry with fewer companies.”

Domestic solar installations up to 10kW in size will receive a feed-in tariff rate of 4.39p/kWh when the new rates come into force after the Department of Energy and Climate Change published the eagerly anticipated results of its consultation.

The new rates are as follows:

Capacity Feed-in tariff rate (p/kWh)
0-10kW 4.39
10-50kW 4.59
50-250kW 2.70
250kW-1000kW 2.27
>1MW 0.87
Stand alone 0.87

The full consultation response also sets out how the new rates – based upon offering a return of 4.8% – are to be introduced.

While the amendment to the feed-in tariff order is to be laid today, given the Christmas recess the changes cannot come into effect until 8 February 2016. In order to protect the new budget allocation of £100 million, DECC has elected to enact a four-week pause on new feed-in tariff installations which will run from 15 January to 8 February 2016.

Any installation made between those dates will not be eligible for the previous rates and will receive the new 4.39p rate from 8 February onward. The first rate will run from 8 February to 31 March, after which degressions will begin to occur. The default quarterly degressions are as listed below.

Full Feed in Tariff Story Here

 

HMRC confirms intent to rollout 20% VAT rate on solar panels on 1 August 2016

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has outlined proposals to remove value added tax relief attached to solar panels as of 1 August 2016.

The move comes after an EU court ruling found that the reduced, 5% VAT rate the UK government had attached to ‘energy saving materials’ violated the Union’s VAT directive as they could not be considered a property renovation.

HMRC confirmed in a consultation today that it intends to carve out solar panels – as well as domestic-scale wind and hydro turbines – from the relief, effectively increasing the cost of a standard installation.

The Solar Trade Association stated that the move would add around £900 to the cost of an average 4kW installation and Mike Landy, head of policy at the STA, said that the move required “urgent action” from both the UK government and the European Commission.

“Instead of just accepting the EU ruling HMRC needs to push back and argue for solar to keep its reduced VAT rate. The Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Treasury also need to take this massive hike in end prices into consideration in their imminent decision on how far to cut the feed-in tariff for solar.

“And we need the European Commission to move quickly to amend EU law so that all renewables and energy efficiency products are guaranteed a reduced rate of VAT. Brussels needs to remember that the EU doesn’t have many practical tools within its power to promote renewables, but rules on VAT is one of them,” he said.

The move comes despite HMRC confirming to Solar Power Portal in July that it intended to implement a “tax lock” until 2020 and ruled out any increases to income tax, NICs and VAT during the current parliament.

 

Source: http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/hmrc_confirms_intent_to_rollout_20_vat_rate_on_solar_panels_on_1_august_201

DECC silent over VAT implication on new feed-in tariff rates

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has refused to comment on whether yesterday’s confirmation that 20% VAT will be applied to solar panels will have any impact on revised feed-in tariff rates emerging from the consultation.

The UK solar industry still awaits DECC’s response to the consultation which could see FiTs for small-scale installations cut by as much as 87%. New rates are widely rumoured to be published next week, however yesterday’s announcement by HMRC has put more pressure on the government to bow to pressure and implement rates higher than those proposed in August.

With VAT set to rise from the 5% relief rate to 20%, the cost of a standard rooftop solar installation is set to rise by as much as £900 – significantly affecting the desired hurdle rate on which Parsons Brinkerhoff designed its consultation. The proposed rate of 1.63p/kWh would not deliver the 4% return argued by government to be sufficient for solar installations once the new rate of VAT comes into force on 1 August 2016.

While several consultation responses are understood to have raised how panel prices could be impacted by factors such as possible VAT increases and the EU’s minimum import price on Chinese products, a DECC spokesman could not comment on whether or not this factor would be taken into account when the new rates are formalised.

A government spokesman said: “The government remains committed to improving UK homes to help tackle fuel poverty and keep energy bills low.

“Despite the EU’s ruling we will continue to help the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, with the installation of energy saving materials, by retaining the vast majority of the energy saving materials relief.”

The government has been widely condemned for passing down the directive, but HMRC’s hands have effectively been tied by the European Court of Justice’s ruling in June. The government could not appeal the verdict and while an HMRC spokesman told Solar Power Portal in June the department was “considering its options”, it’s understood little could be done in light of the ECJ’s decision.

 

Source: http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/decc_silent_over_vat_implication_on_new_feed_in_tariff_rates_3582?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=news-rss-feed