FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享John Finnigan for the Cleveland Plain Dealer:Ohio-based utilities FirstEnergy and AEP are trying to get subsidies for several old, dirty coal plants owned by their sister companies. These assets are losing money because customers can buy cheaper power from new, cleaner renewable energy and natural gas plants. And instead of closing their outdated Ohio plants, the powerful utilities have made proposals to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to bail them out. By guaranteeing the purchase of power for the next eight years, the deals would force Ohioans to pay billions of dollars to keep the FirstEnergy and AEP plants running.The PUCO should reject the bailouts: There is a strong business case against them, plus the extra costs and pollution would greatly harm customers and the environment. But in case the PUCO does approve these bailouts, two new developments at the national level will help ensure the lousy deals don’t go through in the end.First, the U.S. Supreme Court just upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) rule on demand response, an important service that pays customers to conserve energy when the grid is overloaded and struggling to produce enough power to meet demand. FERC is the federal agency tasked with keeping our electricity rates fairly priced, and the court’s ruling recognizes the value of a competitive energy marketplace.Moreover, the decision reflects the overall aim of federal electricity regulation: to advance an efficient and economic marketplace that favors just and reasonable rates. Put another way, national law respects a system that levels the playing field for power producers and allows the least-cost option to succeed. Bailing out FirstEnergy’s and AEP’s uncompetitive power plants is the opposite of just and reasonable, not to mention far from the least-cost option.Part of the PUCO’s mission is also to ensure an environment that fosters competition. But if it will not, federal regulators can and should uphold those principles. In other words, federal regulators will need to bail out the Ohio regulators, if they fail in their duty to protect customers.Second, other power companies filed a new complaint with FERC attacking the FirstEnergy and AEP bailout plans. These companies include NRG and Dynegy – two of the nation’s largest independent power producers – and they want FERC to revoke a prior blanket approval that allows FirstEnergy and AEP to buy electricity from power plants owned by their affiliate companies. FERC normally will look closely at these transactions to ensure a competitive process is used and customers receive a fair price.In this case, FERC gave blanket approval for FirstEnergy and AEP to buy electricity from their affiliates because they assured FERC they would do so through the regional competitive power auction process. The auctions are an open and transparent process where all the regional power producers submit bids, and the lowest priced bids are selected. This would keep utility-affiliated power plants on equal footing with other power producers. The process also aims to protect customers from corporate nepotism and paying above-market prices through sweetheart, no-bid contracts, as in this case.NRG and Dynegy rightfully claim the FirstEnergy and AEP bailouts – by locking in prices and guaranteeing a power purchase from their own generators for the next eight years – would undermine the competitive auctions. Indeed, the combined bailouts would force customers to pay nearly $6 billion more than market prices. Unfortunately, FirstEnergy and AEP did not use an arm’s length process here – they entered into the deals with their affiliates with no competitive bidding, no review by an independent party, and no negotiation on the price. If FERC upholds the complaint by NRG, Dynegy, and others, as it should, this would block the FirstEnergy and AEP bailout plans, even if the PUCO approves them.We still hold out hope the PUCO will do the right thing and protect customers, the environment, and Ohio’s competitive energy market by rejecting the bailouts. Yet, FirstEnergy and AEP are two of the nation’s largest utility companies, headquartered in Ohio, so the PUCO could succumb to political pressure. If it does approve the bailouts, the federal demand response ruling and the complaint by several power companies are positive signs the bailouts will fail their next test: review by FERC and the federal courts.Bailouts for FirstEnergy, AEP should be rejected: John Finnigan (Opinion) Op-Ed: Federal Decisions Could Prevent Bailouts for Ohio Utilities
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Nassau County police are investigating an attempted armed home invasion in Uniondale on Monday morning.Two men pried open the door to a basement apartment on Park Avenue, approached the a 31-year-old man inside and displayed a black handgun at 10:52 a.m., police saidThe victim then slammed the door closed and both gunmen ran away empty handed in an unknown direction, police said.The suspects were described as light-skinned Hispanic men wearing jeans, with the first wearing a blue jacket, baseball hat and black sneakers with white stripes. The second suspect was wearing a ski hat/NY logo, camo vest, blue jeans and white sneakers.First Squad detectives ask that anyone with information regarding this crime to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.
The NCUA late Thursday warned consumers about a telephone scam in which scammers claim to work for the NCUA and ask for personal and financial information.According to a release, callers told consumers her or his credit card or debit card had been frozen or blocked. Callers then asked for the consumer’s Social Security number, account number, date of birth and home address to verify the information. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
For the first time since the Great Recession, overdraft revenue increased in the first quarter from the previous year-end quarter, in part due to pricing changes, a new report indicates.According to the latest Moebs $ervices overdraft study, total overdraft revenue increased $268 million, or 0.8%, from the end of Q4 through Q1, totaling $33.6 billion for all banks, thrifts, and credit unions.“Since the recession started, we have seen the first quarter revenue dip about 4.2%, on average, from the year-end quarter. However, in 2008, when the revenue increased the last time in the first quarter, there was a much larger increase of 2.2% from the previous year-end quarter,” said Michael Moebs, economist and CEO of Moebs Services.Price And VolumeSeveral factors contributed to the expanding overdraft revenue, said Moebs.“An increase in revenue is directly correlated to price and volume. The overdraft price has remained the same since 2013, which indicates that volume has continued to the increase,” said Moebs. “When comparing year-to-year, overdraft volume has seen its largest increase since pre-recession.” 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »
All of the missiles fired so far this year have been small, short-range weapons, such as the KN-24 fired during the last launch on March 21.But Kim has warned that North Korea is developing a new “strategic weapon” to be unveiled this year, with analysts speculating that it could be a new long-range ballistic missile, or a submarine capable of launching such missiles.United Nations Security Council resolutions bar North Korea from testing ballistic missiles, and the country has been heavily sanctioned over its missile and nuclear weapons programs.This month’s military drills have been conducted despite a border lockdown and quarantine measures imposed in North Korea in an effort to prevent an outbreak of the new coronavirus.South Korea and the United States have postponed some of their joint military exercises because of the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea.Politically and economically isolated, North Korea has not reported any confirmed cases, though some foreign experts have expressed doubts.In the past, North Korea has typically conducted military drills, including tests of its ballistic missiles, in March as the wintry weather turns warmer. For the previous two years, however, it had avoided such springtime launches amid denuclearisation talks with the United States.Those talks have since stalled, and this year’s string of tests and military drills appear aimed at underscoring North Korea’s return to a more hard-line policy, said Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Federation of American Scientists.”There is an element of projecting a business-as-usual image amid the COVID-19 situation, but I think it’s not overriding,” he said. “These tests do allow Kim Jong Un to show that he’s sticking to the hard-line policy he laid out in December 2019.” Topics : North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off its east coast on Sunday, the latest in an unprecedented flurry of launches that South Korea decried as “inappropriate” amid the global coronavirus pandemic.Two “short-range projectiles” were launched from the coastal Wonsan area, and flew 230 kilometers at a maximum altitude of 30 kilometers, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported.”In a situation where the entire world is experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19, this kind of military act by North Korea is very inappropriate and we call for an immediate halt,” South Korea’s JCS said in a statement, according to Yonhap news agency. Japan’s Ministry of Defense said they appeared to be ballistic missiles, and they did not land in Japanese territory or its exclusive economic zone.They would be the eighth and ninth missiles launched in four rounds of tests this month as North Korean troops conduct ongoing military drills, usually personally overseen by leader Kim Jong Un.That would be the most missiles ever fired in a single month by North Korea, according to a tally by Shea Cotton, senior researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.”Coming this early in the year, the only time we’ve seen tests this frequently were in 2016 and 2017, both of which were huge years for North Korea’s missile program,” he said in a post on Twitter.
The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) would be “very interested” in small-scale public-private partnerships (PPPs), its investment director has disclosed.Eugene O’Callaghan, who currently oversees investments at the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) prior to the full launch of the ISIF, also said that he was less interested in offering Irish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to further loans than allocating some of the €6.8bn portfolio to equity investments boosting the economy.Speaking at the joint Oireachtas committee on jobs, enterprise and innovation earlier this month, O’Callaghan spoke of the problem of attracting large institutional investors to some of the smaller scale PPP projects proposed by the Irish government.“Financial institutions such as insurance companies and pension plans would typically write cheques of €100m or more each,” he said. He added that smaller scale projects would be of interest to banks, but said there was also an opportunity for ISIF to support them.“Certainly, on the smaller to medium-sized projects there is every possibility that there will be financing gaps in those and we would certainly be very interested in participating in the projects where such gaps might exist.”Discussing the NPRF’s €500m commitment to three SME funds, made last year in anticipation of the launch of the domestically-focused ISIF, he noted that that Irish companies were currently “disproportionately” reliant on debt funding.“In our view, the solution to excessive corporate debt levels is not necessarily more debt but greater use of other financing means such as equity, where the ISIF can particularly make a difference.“Its flexibility to invest up and down the capital structure and over longer time periods means it can provide alternative funding options to complement those provided by traditional banking.”O’Callaghan said the three SME funds had identified over 400 investment opportunities in the past year, but that only 45 had progressed to the stage where detailed proposals were drawn up by managers.He echoed previous sentiment that the ISIF would look to be co-investor in a “suite of funds” to assist SMEs, but that the higher operational costs associated with ventures targeting small firms made it hard to “establish a commercial case” in favour of investment.In an interview with the February issue of IPE, O’Callaghan said that the ISIF would have a dual bottom line of stimulating economic growth and investing on a commercially viable basis.Minister for finance, Michael Noonan has previously said it was “essential” that the ISIF act as an alternative source of financing to a broad range of projects – including agriculture, construction and technology ventures.
The United Nations has denied having tried to bury confidential report on alleged sexual abuses by French troops in Central African Republic.This follows accusations from several non-governmental organizations.Several NGO’s slammed the United Nations for the suspension of a UN officer who leaked the report to French authorities.The organizations accuse the UN of attempts to bury the potential scandal.The UN has denied the claimsRupert Colville a spokesman for , OHCHR was quoted saying: “First, this does not concern UN peacekeepers. French force in CAR was not under the umbrella of the UN. This pegs the question why would have Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights / OHCHR (OHCHR) or indeed the wider UN tried to protect French troops accused of such odious acts against children by sitting on such information, I just pose that question to you.”The UN also says the leak of an unedited report constituted a serious breach of protocol. The circulation of report with the names of victims, witnesses and investigators also puts them at risk.“As a concrete illustration of this concern, and why really it is a life concern, we know for a fact that at least one of the individuals, named in this document, has been contacted by a number of different media organizations within the last few days. This is very worrying. And I repeat, the core issue here is that the protection of witnesses and victims and investigators and whether or not this was compromised. And indeed is still being compromised if names are circulating,” added Colville.Anders Kompass is the UN staffer who leaked the report to French authorities. He has since been suspended French President Francois Holande has promised to take action against anyone who will be found guilty
Degillo wasreportedly been drivingunder the influence of liquor. BACOLOD City –A man was killed and four other people were injured in a road accident inBarangay Bulata, Cauayan, Negros Occidental. Policeidentified the fatality as 42-year-old Noe Alvarez Degillo. He died of injurieson the head and body. He was rushedto the Mercidetas Montilla District Hospital in Sipalay City, Negros Occidentalwhere the attending physician declared him “dead on arrival.” Based on policeinvestigation, the vehicle driven by Degillo crashed into a concrete wall infront of a house owned by Allan Magarce. Residents GeneHildore Elardo, 59; Mark Guillen Ebarat, 42; Rogelio Degillo, 60; a 5-year-oldminor were also hurt. Cauayan policestation chief Major Lowell Garinganao said the incident happened around 4 p.m.on Tuesday.
Melbourne Heart’s move for Norwich striker Grant Holt is not dead in the water, according to the Australian club’s chief executive Scott Munn. The 32-year-old has become a cult hero at Carrow Road since arriving from Shrewsbury four years ago. However, the impending arrival of Holland international Ricky van Wolfswinkel has led to reports the club captain could leave, with Melbourne a potential destination. The A-League side have made an official approach for Holt and, despite reports the offer was rejected, Munn insists a deal could still be struck. Press Association “We made an approach and we always knew that it would be made public, and that with him being contracted for two more years it might be complicated,” Munn told SBS. “But we haven’t closed the door on it as yet and will be pursuing it. “He’s a proven finisher and showed that by scoring against Manchester City on the last day of the Premier League season.”
The defender will be looking to keep out reigning Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea on Sunday afternoon when the now-struggling Blues visit the Emirates Stadium. And Koscielny thinks the Gunners’ form in front of their own fans will be crucial if they are to maintain their challenges on three fronts. A victory over Chelsea will almost certainly keep Arsenal top of the Premier League while their quest to win a third successive FA Cup sees them host Sky Bet Championship side Burnley next weekend. Add to that a tantalising Champions League clash with Barcelona on the horizon and it amounts to exciting times for the club’s supporters. But, with a gruelling run of games away from home still to come in the league, Koscielny knows how important home success, including Sunday’s visit of their London rivals, will be. “If you want to win the Premier League, you need to win all your home games,” he told Arsenal Player. “Our seven away games will be very difficult because we play against Man City, Man United, Tottenham, West Ham, Everton, so we need to do the job well at home so we have the points.” West Ham are the only Premier League team to leave the Emirates with three points so far this season, winning on the opening day of the campaign. Since then Arsene Wenger has guided the Gunners to the top of the table and now, entering a crucial period of the season, Koscielny is right behind the adage of not getting too far ahead of himself. “We take each game and we will see,” he added. Press Association Laurent Koscielny believes the road to any Arsenal trophy success this season begins at home. “We want to play and win all games. We are in a period where we play many different competitions, we play the Champions League, the FA Cup, Premier League. “This weekend is an important game and next weekend too, because it is the FA Cup and we won it twice and we want to continue like this. “In February, March, we will have Champions League so we need to take it game by game and that’s it.” Defeat at Stamford Bridge was a rare low-point in the season for Arsenal as the 2-0 reverse was compounded by red cards for Gabriel and Santi Cazorla. Chelsea striker Diego Costa, who may not be available on Sunday due to injury, harassed and harangued both Gabriel and Koscielny – with both players involved in separate altercations with the Spain forward. It was the latest incident in a long-running, bitter saga between Wenger and Jose Mourinho – who has since paid the price for Chelsea’s woeful title defence by losing his job. But Wenger does not expect a different challenge this weekend purely because it is Guus Hiddink, and not Mourinho, in the opposing dugout. “Honestly no,” Wenger replied when asked if the dynamic of the game changes with Mourinho not involved. “I look at the quality of the players on the football pitch and never at who sits on the bench. Look at the characteristics of the team, of the players. “We do not analyse the character of the manager who sits on the bench on the other side.” “More than a manager, it’s down to the characteristics of the players. They have the same players. “It will be an intense game. As usual in the Premier League. Overall, I think because of the qualities of the players on the pitch and what is at stake for both teams, it will be a very intense battle.”