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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Beware of utility rates that jump without warning

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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Beware of utility rates that jump without warning

CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) — The list of alternative electric and gas providers has many offering rates lower than Duke Energy, but be careful,

The rates are usually fixed only for a set period. What happens after the introduction period can lead to a big jump in what people pay month to month.

Larry Dowler from Liberty Township said, “For almost for over a year it varied very little but it was around 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. And then in November of 12 it went to .615 and it stayed that way for over a year.”

The Dowlers live in an all-electric house and the electric rate they paid after signing with Cincinnati Bell Energy in 2011 was in line with that offered by Duke Energy. But that changed late last year.

Dowler said, “I didn’t really realize it but it went to 0.08 per kilowatt-hour and then the same thing for the January billing.”

That higher electric charge meant his utility bills started to soar, “Then it went to $600 for the February bill. I said wait a minute so I started researching it and finding out it went from .0615 to .0899 to .0999 for two months,” Dowler said.

He called Cincinnati Bell Energy to complain and learned he’d been switched to a variable rate when the fixed rate, for which he signed up, ended.

Dowler explained, “She said they compared to other companies and they raised their rates on the kilowatt hours to comparable companies. So that hit me very hard.”

A person’s Duke bill has an area called “price to compare” which tells them how much Duke charges that month for gas and electricity. Dowler said after checking that rate, he realized he’d been charged $600 more than if he had stayed with Duke Energy.

There are 47 different energy suppliers certified to serve Duke Energy customers. Many of them offer variable rates so Dowler said he’s learned it’s a good idea to carefully check your bill every month to see exactly what you’re being charged.

Dowler said, “I talked to a friend at church and said, ‘Do you realize this? Did you check your bill?’ He got his next bill. His was at .0899. His was previously .058.”

A Cincinnati Bell Energy spokeswoman said the high winter rates were driven by an unusual spike in demand because of extremely cold weather. She said their rates were similar to other energy providers with variable plans. Since then their rates have come back down.

So remember, when signing up for a low fixed starter rate it will likely increase when the deal ends. Variable rates can jump drastically from month to month so carefully review every utility bill every month. Check the bill to see what the ‘price to compare’ rate is and make sure you’re not paying more than that.

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ARY News Headlines Today 5 July 2015, News Updates Pakistan, Utility Rates Very High in Quetta

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ARY News Headlines Today 5 July 2015, News Updates Pakistan, Utility Rates Very High in Quetta

ARY News Headlines Today 5 July 2015, News Updates Pakistan, Utility Rates Very High in Quetta

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Barack Obama Admits: Energy Prices Will Skyrocket Under Cap And Trade

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Barack Obama Admits: Energy Prices Will Skyrocket Under Cap And Trade

In this January 2008 clip, Barack Obama admits that, under his Cap and Trade plan (or Cap and Tax as it’s more accurately called) “energy prices would necessarily skyrocket.” The most accurate cost estimate puts this “skyrocketing” at about $3,900 per year per household. Doesn’t really sound like the formula for economic recovery to me.


Canada: The brutal math of climate change

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Toronto Star: By making the oilsands the engine of economic growth, Canada has bet its economy against the climate. It’s a myth that a thriving oilsands industry and a livable climate can be easily reconciled. The brutal math of climate change confronts that myth, and that’s why in Canada this math is taboo.
NDP candidate Linda McQuaig breached this taboo when she uttered the words “a lot of the oilsands oil may have to stay in the ground.” An uproar ensued. Even though McQuaig’s statement was based in undeniable…
Source: Waterconserve News

Source: Water Industry News

Rising sea levels and stronger storms increase flood danger

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Environmental News Network: New research has found rising sea levels and stronger storms associated with climate change will produce longer-lasting, more intense periods of flooding.
Many studies predict that future sea-level rise along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts will increase flooding. Others suggest that the human-caused warming driving this rise will also boost the intensity and frequency of big coastal storms.
Up to now, though, these two hazards have been assessed mostly in isolation from each other. Now,…
Source: Waterconserve News

Source: Water Industry News

Italy’s glaciers retreated by 40 percent: WWF

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Indo-Asian News Service: Alpine glaciers in Italy have lost an estimated 40 per cent of their area over the last three decades, a recent report released by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has said. “The situation of glaciers on the Italian side of the Alps is very worrying,” Xinhua news agency on Friday quoted Gianfranco Bologna, scientific director of WWF-Italy and co-author of the report as saying. The Hot Ice report was unveiled earlier this week, ahead of a crucial United Nations Climate Change Conference due to be held…
Source: Waterconserve News

Source: Water Industry News

Final report high-volume hydraulic fracturing in Michigan

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ScienceDaily: University of Michigan researchers today released the final version of a report analyzing policy options for the state of Michigan regarding high-volume hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas and oil extraction process commonly known as fracking.
The final report of the U-M Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment consists of six chapters totaling nearly 200 pages. The two-part integrated assessment took three years to complete and is the most comprehensive Michigan-focused resource…
Source: Waterconserve News

Source: Water Industry News

Q&A: Giulio Boccaletti on the Sustainable Development Goal for Restoring Water Ecosystems

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Giulio Boccaletti is the global managing director for water at The Nature Conservancy. He talks with Circle of Blue about the Sustainable Development subgoal to protect and restore water-related ecosystems and how it represents a shift in thinking about how to provide communities with safe water.

In a series of Q&As with water experts, Circle of Blue explores the significance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for water, how they can be achieved, and how they will be measured. We spoke with Giulio Boccaletti about the 6.6 subgoal, which aims, by 2020, to “protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.”

Giulio Boccaletti global managing director for water ecosystems conservation restoration United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Q&A Circle of Blue

Photo courtesy of The Nature Conservancy
Can you describe what is meant by a water-related ecosystem, and what it means for the SDG to focus on restoring them?
Giulio Boccaletti: One of the things that the [SDG] has done is really articulate the integration of things that typically are quite separate. In the past, you would have one group worrying about water access and drinking water, another group worrying about water infrastructure like reservoirs, and then a third group worrying about the ecological health of biologically-based systems. These seem to be pretty disparate issues. What the SDGs have done is bring all this together. It’s the recognition that making sure that wetlands are functioning, making sure rivers are healthy as ecological systems, that their function is intact, that outcome is part of the overall issue of delivering sustainable water services to humanity. That’s an important shift because it essentially recognizes what some people call natural infrastructure, that the most fundamental piece of water infrastructure we have is the stuff we inherited.

That’s one way of thinking about what that last subgoal means. The other effect is that it actually turns the camera around. This is true for all the SDGs, but particularly the water one. If you look back to the Millennium Development Goals, they were very much focused on the delivery of services to the least developed countries. It was about equity and lifting people out of poverty through a set of goals, and water was a part of that. What this set of goals is doing is sustainable development writ large. It applies to the developing world as well as the developed world. Middle income countries like Brazil are having water resources issues, but equally California, which is probably the richest place on the planet. And it’s having the same issues.

What is different about thinking about water-related ecosystems as a whole—such as forests and wetlands—instead of just a river or lake on its own?
Giulio Boccaletti: It is essentially saying that the water sector is quite a bit broader than what people typically think. If you are a forest manager, you are in fact part of the water sector. It puts an emphasis on achieving outcomes of scale across the world, and the performance is very varied. For example, the forests of the West [United States], it’s not a developing country, but you have pine forests where there are all of those fires. All of those forests, which are artificially thick because of forest management practices, need to be ecologically restored and need to be thinned. By doing that you are probably improving the amount of water delivered to places like Arizona, to New Mexico, to San Francisco.
You hear a lot about natural “tipping points”. This goal aims to not only protect ecosystems, but also to restore them. How possible is it to do that at this point, and is there a window of opportunity to do so?
Giulio Boccaletti: I think the urgency is mostly about us. That’s the source of it. The good news about freshwater ecosystems is, in some ways, it’s a positive story. The Ohio River in the U.S. was way more polluted than it is today. Before the Clean Water Act was passed, the United States had watershed outcomes that were much worse than they are today. It’s not a one directional story. We know how to do this, we know how to restore an ecosystem. While we may not recover all of what was lost, and someplace like the Mississippi River may never look like it did 200 years ago, we can still restore a lot of its functions.

Last year, when they released water down the Colorado River to restore the connection to the sea, the moment the water touched the Delta, it completely revived. In a way, that’s the most obvious demonstration of how nature is actually resilient. It’s not a question of whether you care about nature or not, which we do, but the bigger problem is our population is growing and we need a whole bunch of things that we will struggle to deliver if we don’t regain the balance between ecological needs and human needs. Having healthy ecosystems is a precondition of supplying sustainable services. I think that is the fundamental shift the SDGs are trying to frame.

What challenges and opportunities are presented when the environment is considered as a major water stakeholder, as it has been in places like Australia and California?
Giulio Boccaletti: The challenge is that it introduces some degree of complexity. You might end up having a very simplistic view that nature is simply competitive to human uses. But in someplace like the Murray Darling, it is a very particular kind of ecosystem. Nature is used to periods of floods followed by periods of drought. I think there is a lot of opportunity to be very precise about what are the actual needs of nature.

In setting up an institution, if you use Australia as an example, it manages it because of a market system that allows you to be quite precise. We don’t have that level of precision in most of the world, whereas they have an engineered system. We have the opportunity though to get really consistent and precise—what is it really that nature needs? The ecosystem services that nature provides, whether protection from floods, or nitrogen fixation in the environment, typically those processes, as natural infrastructure, fit the low-end of the water cost scale.

What areas are doing well in their efforts to protect water ecosystems, and where does there need to be improvement?
Giulio Boccaletti: It’s very spotty, and the answer is very contextual. Things that worked 100 years ago don’t necessarily work 100 years later, and, frankly, climate change throws a wrench in the plan. What might have been a perfectly viable setup in the environment isn’t when the statistic of rainfall is changing. That complicates it. There are some countries that have done better than others in part because it was easier or because they wanted to do that.

This is one of the defining challenges for much of the developing world—will they be able to meet the recipes that are implied by the SDGs? If they did, what they would do is leapfrog from the path that much of the developed countries followed.

The post Q&A: Giulio Boccaletti on the Sustainable Development Goal for Restoring Water Ecosystems appeared first on Circle of Blue WaterNews.

Source: Water News

Source: Water Industry News