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We Powys residents warned as water consumption rises By Staff Reporter HOUSEHOLDS in Powys are using on average 16 per cent more water than last year, and customers could see their water bills increase as a result. Consumption data for 2020 has revealed water usage by Welsh Water customers has increased by 25 per cent throughout the year. Welsh Water, which is the only not-for-profit water company in England and Wales, is encouraging the public to adopt water-efficient habits while still washing their hands regularly and following public health guidance. The increased water usage in the area can be attributed to many factors besides changing habits as a result of the pandemic. As well as increased time spent working from home and home-schooling, the fine weather throughout the spring and summer saw lots of people spending increased time in activities like gardening and enjoying paddling pools and hot tubs. In April, Amazon reported a 4,000 per cent increase in paddling pool sales while eBay reported sales of hot tubs had increased by 1,000 per cent. In a bid to support customers and help keep bills as low as possible, the company is urging the public to take steps to conserve water in other ways, like wrapping pipes for winter to avoid bursts, fixing leaks, and making small daily changes like turning off the tap while brushing teeth or flushing the loo one less time a day. Sam James, managing director of household customer services at Welsh Water, said: “Taking steps to be more water efficient can have a real impact on the amount of water a home uses and can bring down the cost of your water bill. “Small changes to your behaviour, like not leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth or spending one less minute in the shower, really do add up over time. And even while the weather is colder there are lots of opportunities to practice water efficient habits at home. “Water pipes are particularly prone to freezing and bursting in cold weather, leading to a lot of water being wasted. This is easily preventable by wrapping the pipes ready for the cold.” The company is also encouraging people to sign up to its online service MyAccount, where Welsh Water customers can view their upcoming payments online and keep track of their bills. Sam added: “It’s been an incredibly difficult year for all of us and we know many people are facing a tough time financially. “If anyone is struggling with their water charges, we strongly encourage them to get in touch with us. We have schemes and social tariffs available to help make bills more affordable. “Importantly, we want people to know that these water-saving steps really do work.

https://www.countytimes.co.uk/news/19093191.powys-residents-warned-water-consumption-rises/

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Silicon chips are the lifeblood of the tech-obsessed world we live in, but today they're in short supply.  Demand for these chips, or semiconductors, has soared during the coronavirus pandemic as people snapped up games consoles, laptops and TVs to help get through lockdowns. Now, many of these products — including certain Chromebook laptops and next-generation consoles like the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 — are sold out, or subject to lengthy shipping times.  It's just one of a number of factors that has driven demand for semiconductors, but as supply struggles to keep up, it's the chip-reliant car industry that has been hit especially hard. "We have seen in the short term, the automotive industry has been very adversely affected," Bryce Johnstone, director of automotive segment marketing at chip designer Imagination Technologies, told CNBC via email. "This stems from their just-in-time production methodology and their incredibly complicated supply chains." Carmakers uses semiconductors in everything from power steering and brake sensors, to entertainment systems and parking cameras. The smarter cars get, the more chips they use. "If the chip that powers the in-car dials or automatic braking are delayed, then so will the rest of the vehicle," said Johnstone.   U.S. car giant General Motors announced last Wednesday that it is shutting three plants and slowing production at a fourth due to the semiconductor shortage. The Detroit car manufacturer said it could miss its 2021 targets as a result. "Despite our mitigation efforts, the semiconductor shortage will impact GM production in 2021," a company spokesman said in a statement. "Semiconductor supply for the global auto industry remains very fluid," they added. "Our supply chain organization is working closely with our supply base to find solutions for our suppliers' semiconductor requirements and to mitigate impacts on GM." Ford said in January that it was shutting a factory in Germany for a month , while Volkswagen said in December it will make 100,000 fewer cars this quarter as a result of the shortage. Speaking about the chip shortage on a Davos panel on Jan. 25, VW CEO Herbert Diess said: "We have to make sure that the markets and supply chains remain intact." Falan Yinug, director of industry statistics and economic policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association, says the chip shortage in the automotive industry is largely the result of substantial swings in demand due to the pandemic and the increased use of semiconductors in advanced vehicles. "The events leading to the current auto chip shortage began during the second quarter of 2020, when automakers understandably reduced production and chip purchases as the virus spread across the globe," Yinug wrote in a blog last Thursday. At the same time, chipmakers saw a pickup in demand for semiconductors used to support remote healthcare, work-at-home, and virtual learning, which were required during the pandemic, according to Yinug. "In the months that followed, demand for automotive semiconductors rallied much more quickly than most anticipated," Yinug said. "The clear decrease in monthly year-over-year (YoY) sales growth for application-specific chips used in the automotive market was sudden and precipitous in March and April, when the pandemic was shuttering auto plants globally.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/08/carmakers-have-been-hit-hard-by-a-global-chip-shortage-heres-why-.html