Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Power Industry Seeks Fresh Talent to Run the Grid of Tomorrow -

"The power companies desperately need a jolt of youthful energy. The industry and the creaky distribution system it manages are on the cusp of a major technological overhaul just as about half of electric utility employees are expected to retire in the next 5 to 10 years."

Consumer Reports Cars Blog: Against the current: The reality of the award-winning Chevrolet Volt

Clearly, reaping the benefits of electric-car use means keeping the Volt’s battery charged up as much as possible. When we did that, and the Volt only used its gas engine occasionally, the car’s on-board computer indicated we were getting six-figure mpg display of 120 mpg or so. But such a fantastic number is misleading since it ignores the cost of the 12 kWh of electricity we were “pumping” into the car every 33 miles or so. Here in the Northeast, or in California, that ends up being about $2.38 (With the national average of 11cents per kWh, it would be $1.38.)

Electric bills may not be as big as you fear - Local / Metro -

"The program – put into place as part of a compromise to raise power rates starting this spring to pay for environmental upgrades — is based on a complicated formula that kicks in when temperatures vary greatly from their 15-year averages. As a result, the Cayce-based utility’s 660,000 electricity customers will pay less for every kilowatt hour of power that they use during unusually hot periods over the summer and cold periods over the winter, Boomhower said.
On the down side, customers will pay more for every per kilowatt hour of power that they use when seasons are milder and, as a result, they use less power, he said."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The lives of the energy traders: High stakes, high cholesterol

By Jess Walter
Monday, December 27, 2010; 7:19 PM
"McMeel worked for 13 years in the energy markets, and he revels in juicy descriptions and office anecdotes, which have the unmistakable feel of insider lore. He colorfully describes the denizens of this all-male world (one has 'a skull the size of a pony keg') and their meals ('a haiku of fat.'). But as on-point as these descriptions might be, the men and their meals begin to blur; when everyone is larger than life, no one is."

Just 21% Want FCC to Regulate Internet, Most Fear Regulation Would Promote Political Agenda - Rasmussen Reports™

"The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 21% of Likely U.S. Voters want the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate the Internet as it does radio and television. Fifty-four percent (54%) are opposed to such regulation, and 25% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)"

Group to urge GOP to combat 'outrageous' federal regulations - The Hill's Ballot Box

By Shane D'Aprile - 12/27/10 03:00 PM E\
"Kerpen wants the Senate to force to the floor a 'Congressional Review Act Resolution of Disapproval' on the FCC's new rules, which he said can be done with as few as 30 senators."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Washington Youth Tour

"Fairfield Electric Cooperative's representatives will travel to Washington D. C with approximately 40 high school juniors from other South Carolina electric cooperatives. Once there, the South Carolina representative's will join nearly 1,400 students representing cooperatives from around the country."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

S.C. and N.C. settle water use case - Newsletters -

"But McMaster said the agreement includes several protections for state interests:
Residents, businesses and state agencies must be notified before a permit can be issued to draw water from the Catawba-Wateree River Basin, which includes an opportunity to appear at a public hearing.
Before any permit is issued, an environmental impact study must be completed."

Net Neutrality Rules Are Imminent From the F.C.C. -

"“Maybe you like Google Maps. Well, tough,” Mr. Franken said on Saturday on the Senate floor. “If the F.C.C. passes this weak rule, Verizon will be able to cut off access to the Google Maps app on your phone and force you to use their own mapping program, Verizon Navigator, even if it is not as good. And even if they charge money, when Google Maps is free"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Southern Energy Management Installs 60 Residential Solar Water Heaters in Innovative Pilot Program

"The project by Central Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (CEPCI) will monitor the effectiveness of residential solar thermal water heating using a grant from the South Carolina Energy Office. �Southern Energy Management (SEM) was awarded a contract in September to install 60 of the systems out of its Greenville office. SEM partnered with VELUX, a leading global manufacturer of solar water heaters with its U.S. headquarters in Greenwood, to complete all 60 residential systems in 60 days."

Murkowski sees GOP traction for ‘clean’ energy standard - The Hill's E2-Wire

By Ben Geman - 12/19/10 09:31 AM ET
"The Alaska Republican is among the lawmakers backing the idea of requiring the nation’s utilities to supply escalating amounts of power from low-carbon sources like new nuclear power plants, renewables, and coal plants if they can trap emissions (a technology that’s not yet commercialized)."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Developer says solar competes on price | Charlotte Business Journal

  • John Downey
  • Senior staff writer
  • Email:
  • His project will be profitable at a price well below 18 cents per kilowatt-hour. But natural gas often costs utilities more than 30 cents per kilowatt-hour.

    Utilities are required to buy power from independent producers at their “avoided-cost” rate for plants other than hydro facilities. But that calculation includes a utility’s low-cost base-load power. He says regulators should consider setting a rate for avoided costs for solar that gives greater weight to peak pricing.

    “Utilities would save money on peak power buying solar at 20 cents a kilowatt-hour,” Olsen says. And setting solar rates in that range would encourage more local jobs, he says — particularly if the state also gave utilities incentives to use locally produced renewable power sources.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rockefeller concedes defeat in bid to block EPA climate rules - The Hill's E2-Wire

By Ben Geman - 12/17/10 04:00 PM ET
“I have been reliably informed that long-time Republican proponents of my bill to suspend EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions have pulled their support for this year — so that they can gain some political advantage trying to take over this issue in 2011,” he said in a statement Friday."

TV's future: FCC decisions on Internet access, Comcast-NBC merger approaching

Cecilia Kang,
"Those deliberations would create first-time rules affecting how television series and movies reach consumers with Internet connections and how much companies can charge for the service. It's the government's strongest effort yet to lay out some boundaries in the headlong rush for online video."

Post Tech - Sen. Hutchison moves to block funds for FCC on net neutrality rules

Cecilia Kang
"Hutchison's amendment, co-signed by John Ensign (R-Nev.) and six other Republican lawmakers, would 'prohibit the FCC from using any appropriated funds to adopt, implement or otherwise litigate any network neutrality based rules, protocols or standards.'"

Solar power gets boost in S.C. - Business -

"The 1,300 solar panels will be installed on top of buildings and on the ground next to the Myrtle Beach Service Center, Warehouse and Technical Services Office off Mr. Joe White Avenue, and will have a capacity of about 311 kilowatts in optimal conditions. The Grand Strand Solar Station should generate enough electricity for about 30 typical homes a year and will increase the amount of solar power generated in the state by 50 percent, according to Santee Cooper."

District 17 gets $96,076 check from Progress Energy program - The Item: News

"The seven schools that received upgrades to their heating, ventilation and air condition controls were Bates Middle, Lemira Elementary, Crosswell Drive Elementary, Wilder Elementary, Alice Drive Elementary, Alice Drive Middle school and Sumter High schools. The upgrades allow operators to control temperatures at these facilities from a central location and set systems to adjust automatically at night, on weekends and during holidays. Johnson said the district can also now diagnose and fix certain problems without having to send someone out to the school."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ellen Ruff to Retire from Duke Energy at Year End -- CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

"Ruff joined Duke Energy in 1978 and has held various leadership positions across the company during her tenure. She was named vice president and general counsel of electric operations in 1997, and vice president and general counsel of corporate gas and electric operations in 1999. In 2001, Ruff became vice president of asset management and later served as group vice president of planning and external relations, where she led the company's strategic planning, compliance, environmental health and safety, and external relations efforts."

Head of consumer group takes on FCC's net neutrality plan -

By Sara Jerome - 12/14/10 07:25 PM ET
"Sohn said she will oppose the plan unless it is strengthened — a decision that could help sink the top agenda item of Genachowski’s term and potentially obliterate his legacy as chairman."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One Republican, Unhappy With His Party's Position on Carbon, Prepares a New Agenda -

"Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, is designing an agenda for next year featuring a clean energy standard for utilities, which rewards increased nuclear and renewable power alike. Similar ideas have failed because they tended to dilute incentives for wind and solar. But under an increasingly conservative Congress, many advocates see that outcome as a potential victory, under reduced expectations."

No rate hike for Santee Cooper | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment

By Warren Wise
"Santee Cooper's 163,000 electric customers and the 20 cooperatives it provides power to will not face a rate hike next year, but the state-owned utility says an increase might be needed in April 2012 to pay for nuclear power plant construction and projected higher fuel costs."

City power bill hike wins key approval - Local / Metro -

By Adam Beam
"The hike will bring in an extra $3.6 million, which the city plans to give to the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority to operate the county’s struggling bus system. The money is half of what the transit authority has requested from local governments, with the other half expected to come from Richland County Council.
Tuesday night, County Council members met in a closed meeting for more than an hour discussing how they could come up with the rest of the money. One option available to County Council members is to extend a countywide tax on registered vehicles. The tax, which is widely despised, is set to expire in June. It was put in place to allow the bus system to operate until the Nov. 2 referendum"

Fighting Climate Change - The Video Game

 "A game created in partnership between the Orlando Science Center and the University of Central Florida’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy took first place in the student game category of the 2010 Serious Games Showcase & Challenge competition."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SC utility sets record for cold weather usage - State & Regional - Wire -

Santee Cooper said it set a peak record of 5,743 megawatts between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Tuesday."

N.C. council approves energy codes | Charlotte Business Journal

John Downey
"The proposed code changes will now be put out for public comment before the council takes a final vote. Then it will go to the state’s Rules Review Commission for approval. Ultimately, the General Assembly also will review the code changes before they become effective in 2012.
Privott says the home builders will attempt to head off the energy-code changes at each of those levels as long as the offsetting code changes are not made part of the 2012 revisions."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Woodyard Fund: ‘We probably would have frozen without this’ - Local / Metro -

"Harper, 50, is among many Midlands-area residents helped by the Woodyard Fund each year. Administered by the Salvation Army, the fund is available to people having trouble paying for heat."

Woodyard Fund
How to give help: Donations can be mailed to the Woodyard Fund, c/o The State, P.O. Box 1333, Columbia, SC 29202. Make checks payable to the Woodyard Fund. All donations are tax-deductible.
How to get help: Area residents who need assistance with heating bills can call for an appointment at (803) 765-0260, ext. 103.

Read more:

Hike in city utility bills proposed to help pay for buses - Newsletters -

Dawn Hinshaw
"The city utility fee would add $1.61 a month, or less than $20 a year, to the average city resident's monthly electric bill of $82.79, Benjamin's office said."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Upstate residents should brace for a new round of droughts, Duke hydrologist says � Anderson Independent Mail

"The mechanics of the Duke Energy lake system, however, mean the weather patterns will likely have more effect on Lake Jocassee than any other lake in that system, the hydrologist said."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sen. Kerry Urges FCC Democrats to Back Net Neutrality Plan —

December 10, 2010

Kenneth Corbin

"But Kerry, who has spoken out in favor of reclassification, a policy championed by Commissioner Copps, urged the commissioners to be pragmatic in deciding whether to support Genachowski's proposal, arguing that the baseline protections against content discrimination would be an improvement over the agency's current absence of any clear authority."

Briefing: Grads’ job prospects improve - Business -

"On Thursday, economists at the Darla Moore School of Business reported a continued slow recovery and a job growth of 1.2 percent, up from 0.1 percent growth in 2010. Halasz said hiring is evident in various sectors, particularly in the energy industry. Graduates can expect to see more hiring in the areas of power generation and transmission, including the nuclear industry, Halasz said, at companies such as Duke Energy, Progress Energy and SCANA."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Energy audit could save money from going out the window - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |

"Santee Cooper representatives say regularly checking your home's heating and cooling equipment is the best way to make sure the systems are running efficiently. The company will even send an energy expert to your home, free of charge, to make sure everything is running smoothly."

Fred Upton wins House energy gavel - Darren Samuelsohn -


Overcoming concerns that he's too moderate for the job, Rep. Fred Upton emerged Tuesday as the winner of a bitter internal Republican battle to lead the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Michigan Republican won the steering panel nod with critical support from Rep. John Boehner and a collection of senior and rank-and-file GOP lawmakers closely allied with the incoming House speaker.
The full GOP caucus must now ratify Upton’s selection Wednesday, but that is expected to be a formality as former Energy and Commerce Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) told POLITICO he will not challenge the steering committee’s decision.

Kerry and Lieberman eye revival of 'huge energy debate' after cap-and-trade fail - The Hill's E2-Wire

By Andrew Restuccia - 12/08/10 02:00 PM ET
“A lot of us — and the Democrats are trying to involve some Republicans — really want to do an energy bill,” he said. “Energy independence will be a cornerstone of that.”
Lieberman also said he will “focus” on nuclear energy as a key component of the bill. Many Republicans, much to the chagrin of environmentalists and liberal Democrats, have said nuclear energy must be a major part of any energy bill."

Ford Starts Shipments of Electric Vans -

"The Ford Motor Company said on Tuesday that it had started shipping a battery-powered version of a delivery van, the Transit Connect Electric, to a handful of business customers.

The Transit Connect is Ford’s first electric vehicle, coming to market about a year before it plans to challenge the Leaf and the Volt with a battery-powered car, the Focus Electric. The first electric vans are being delivered to several companies that agreed to be early users, including AT&T, the Canada Post, the New York Power Authority and Southern California Edison."

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Free Internet a Civil Right for Every Na...

By now, you may have heard about FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn's recent speech in which she said that "every nappy headed child deserves not only to be connected, but to be proud of who he or she is".  The context of these comments is important, however.  See the video and decide for yourself.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Feds say S.C. utility company was lax in fixing nuclear safety equipment - Environment -

By Sammy Fretwell
"Company officials say Progress did not try to mislead federal regulators and company workers attempted to fix problems discovered in a generator during the fall of 2008. The problems have now been resolved, said Andy Cole, a spokesman for Progress.

But missteps cited by the NRC put Progress on a short list for federal action if the company suffers more troubles. For now, the NRC won't fine Progress, but the agency may increase inspections of the 40-year-old plant near Hartsville in eastern South Carolina."

Dangerous cold to linger in Midlands - Newsletters -

"With temperatures plunging, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., the dominant utility provider in the state, said it was aware of the hardships presented by having no heat, and said it works with its customers in an effort to avoid service terminations.
When a customer does not pay his or her utility bill, a number of steps are taken to address the situation, the company said.
Customers are given multiple opportunities to pay a “past due” bill before service is disconnected, according to SCE&G spokesman Eric Boombower.
Service disconnects – especially those that coincide with inclement weather – are handled on a case-by-case basis, he said, and include a consideration of immediate weather forecasts and a review of the customer’s payment history.
“The last step – and the least desirable – is to disconnect that customer’s service,” Boombower said.
SCE&G said it does not disconnect services to customers if temperatures are forecast to average 32 degrees or below over an ensuing 48-hour period."

Happy Birthday, PSC!

The Public Service Commission, constituted in 1910, will celebrate its 100th birthday today at a reception following its regularly scheduled meeting at 2:30 pm.

The Public Service Commission was preceded by the South Carolina Railroad Commission, which was established in 1878. Upon the complete appointment of the Railroad Commission in 1883, the Charleston News reported that "the railroad companies have nothing whatever to fear, if the rates which they charge are fair and reasonable, and if their business is conducted with a proper regard for the public interest as well as for the profit of the companies."  

The Railroad Commission was combined with the Public Service Commission in 1922.

Pact could be near to save tropical forests

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 7, 2010; 10:42 P

"If all goes according to plan, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will establish a global mechanism allowing developing nations to receive financial compensation for curbing deforestation, which accounts for roughly 15 percent of the world's annual greenhouse gas emissions."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

FCC push to regulate news draws fire - The Hill's Hillicon Valley

By Sara Jerome - 12/06/10 02:33 PM ET
"Barton was reacting to a proposal made last week by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who in a speech suggested that broadcasters be subject to a new 'public values test' every four years.

'I hope … that you do not mean to suggest that it is the job of the federal government, through the [FCC], to determine the content that is available for Americans to consume,” Barton wrote Monday in a letter to Copps.

Copps had suggested that the test would make a broadcaster's license renewal contingent upon proof that they meet a prospective set of federal criteria.

He said outlets should be mandated to do the following: prove they have made a meaningful commitment to public affairs and news programming, prove they are committed to diversity programming (for instance, by showing that they depict women and minorities), report more to the government about which shows they plan to air, require greater disclosure about who funds political ads and devote 25 percent of their prime-time coverage to local news."

Potential fuel source no small potatoes - Business -

- The (Charleston) Post and Courier

Instead, Ryan-Bohac, a Johns Island researcher and entrepreneur, hopes these potatoes will help answer one of the United States’ most vexing economic and national security issues: its deep dependence on foreign oil."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

USDA Blog USDA, Co-ops Play Role in Helping Rural Residents Cut Electricity Costs

"As part of the “Recovery Through Retrofit” initiative, DOE and USDA turned to electric cooperatives—in Indiana, South Carolina, Virginia and Texas—to test the new Home Energy Score software in pilot programs. Cleburne, Texas-based United Cooperative Services, one of the pilot participants, will use the tool to enhance an energy audit program in place for five years."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Free Times: Growth and Development - Pontoon Boat Drill Rig to Measure Tar Ball Contamination in Congaree River

"According to SCE&G spokesman Robert Yanity, the floating apparatus, called a geo-probe drill rig, finished up drilling for core samples in the river bottom months ago and sent its analysis to DHEC.

The environmental regulatory agency wants more information, however.

“Based on the results, we and [SCE&G] agree that additional delineation of the tar is warranted,” says DHEC spokesman Adam Myrick. He adds that the company is making arrangements for the next phase of if it.

“We’re going to send another drill rig out there in the next two to three weeks,” Yanity tells Free Times. “So it’s likely you will see another rig out there probably [in the] mid-December time frame.”"

Post Tech - FTC recommends 'Do Not Track' program in Internet privacy report

Cecilia Kang
"The FTC said it supports a Do Not Track program that would have to be established by legislation or potentially “robust, enforceable self-regulation” by advertisers and Web companies. Such a mechanism would likely be a persistent cookie on a consumer’s browser that would convey to Web sites that the user doesn’t want to be tracked or receive targeted advertising. Leibowitz said in a call with reporters that Google, Apple and Mozilla have all experimented with Do Not Call browser technology."

Administration reverses offshore drilling policy in eastern gulf, Atlantic

Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, December 2, 2010; 12:00 AM
"The revised Interior Department drilling plan, which took industry officials and many environmentalists by surprise, will also delay the next two lease sales in the central and western Gulf of Mexico. It marks a sharp political shift by the White House - yanking concessions to conservatives and oil companies - in the wake of the massive BP oil spill and the collapse of comprehensive climate legislation."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

North Myrtle Beach unveils first wind turbine | SCNOW

Biomass facility to built in Kershaw County - Columbia Regional Business Report

"The 15-megawatt biomass plant in Kershaw County will be fueled by timber residues. The facility is expected to be in operation in late 2012. The company plans to sell its power to Santee Cooper.

President and CEO Raine Cotton said Southeast Renewable Energy is “working diligently to get the last few steps of the project worked out, including permitting, that will allow the project to begin construction in early 2011.”

The announcement comes less than two weeks after the company announced details about a similar facility in Allendale County. And a third plant is planned in Dorchester County. The company has an agreement to sell green power from both those plants to Santee Cooper for 30 years."

FCC Chairman Announces Fake Net Neutrality Proposal - Huffington Post

Josh Silver,
President, Free Press
"This morning, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that he will finally seek a vote on President Obama's top tech issue, 'Net Neutrality.' There's just one problem: According to the New York Times, it's not even close to the real Net Neutrality that President Obama promised the American people."

Post Tech - Update: FCC Republicans say they oppose net neutrality push; key Democrat says it's a start

Cecilia Kang
"Commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker issued comments as Genachowski delivered a speech on his proposal, saying the Democratic chairman's move has been criticized strongly by members of both parties in Congress. With a Republican-led House, the plan will likely be challenged, they and analysts said."

F.C.C. Chairman Has Plan to Regulate Internet Broadband Providers -

"The framework will form the basis for a proposed order scheduled to be voted on during the F.C.C.’s Dec. 21 meeting.

Mr. Genachowski says he believes he has the legal authority to act because he argues that his plan would help spread broadband service more widely across the country, a priority that Congress has established as one of the F.C.C.’s mandates. It is not clear whether the latest proposal will garner the support of the majority of the five-person commission."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

AT&T Gains FCC's Ear as Agency Nears Decision on Net Neutrality - Bloomberg

"Both sides are trying to affect draft rules that Genachowski may present to commissioners for a Dec. 21 vote.

Regulators are considering whether mobile Web service should be subject to the same rules as Internet service delivered over wires. AT&T opposes net-neutrality rules for wireless in part because companies need flexibility to manage traffic on crowded airwaves, the company said in a filing. Carriers’ wireless traffic and revenue are increasing as more consumers adopt smartphones such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone."

Utilities Shift to Gas-Based Plants as Alternative to Coal -

"For Progress, the decision to scrap coal-fired plants and replace them with gas-fired plants was a drastic change in its business plan. It meant reducing the utility’s coal-fired production capacity by 30 percent while increasing gas power from less than 4 percent of its production capacity to a projected 25 percent after the gas plants are built."

SC's Santee Cooper dedicating first wind turbine - Breaking Business -

South Carolina's state-owned electric utility is dedicating its first wind turbine.
Santee Cooper's 2.4-kilowatt turbine is located at North Myrtle Beach's Oceanfront Park and is being dedicated on Tuesday.
The turbine is part of the utility's Wind Education Project which is designed to show the viability of wind power and promote awareness of the power source.
The Wind Education Project is part of the utility's renewable energy program."

WCIV-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Charleston, SC - Building at Trident Tech evacuated

"A portion of Maybelline Road was closed for part of the day on Monday as firefighters from North Charleston and crews from South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) worked to repair the damaged lines."

Faster cellphones to bring a wave of new services and charges

By Cecilia Kang
"FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that even though carriers say they let users know how many minutes of talking and megabytes of data they use, mystery fees continue to confound consumers. Verizon Wireless recently agreed to pay $25 million in a settlement with the FCC on false data charges for 15 million subscribers. The federal agency estimates about 30 million cellphone users have experienced bill shock from sudden increases.

And Genachowski doubts that most people know how much data is consumed by watching an episode of 'Mad Men,' a recipe for even more confusion in the new world of ever-more-powerful smartphones and tablets that act like computers"

Monday, November 29, 2010

Heraldonline - Comporium plans to keep making phone books despite national trend

"By Don Worthington -
Comporium has no interest in embracing a national trend to get rid of phone books, says Glenn McFadden, the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer.
The company will continue to distribute its book listing residential and business listings - one book to each phone number.
The North Carolina Utilities Commission has given AT&T the OK to end residential white-page delivery in Charlotte, Huntersville and Davidson.
According to the Associated Press, 15 states have either approved or are considering suspending delivery of white pages.
South Carolina is not one of them, McFadden said.
The first telephone directory was issued in February 1878, a single page listing 50 customers in New Haven, Conn."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New U.S. Magistrate has nuclear background - Local / Metro -

After Austin graduated with an electrical engineering major from the University of South Carolina in 1989, she went to work in the regulatory licensing section of SCE&G’s nuclear power plant in Jenkinsville."

Friday, November 26, 2010

New York Cabdrivers’ Dress Code Gets an Update -

"The earliest New York cabbies wore immaculate uniforms modeled after cadet clothes at West Point. By 1925, the city required cabbies to wear a knitted cap, white linen collared shirt, coat and necktie. Drivers were also expected to be “temperamentally fitted for the job,” according to the book “Taxi! A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver.”

That book’s author, Graham Hodges, a former cabby himself, said he once drove his taxi shirtless on a particularly hot summer day in the 1970s. His excuse? No air-conditioning. “I was told by a cabby that if I didn’t put a shirt on, I’d get a ticket,” he recalled on the telephone recently."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Salazar vows to speed offshore wind energy - Financial & Business - Wire -

Matthew Daly, Associated Press
"At a speech in Baltimore, Salazar said he will institute a 'smart permitting process' that could result in leases issued within two years, instead of seven years or more.
Salazar said he and other federal officials will work with governors in 11 Atlantic Coast states to identify promising areas for wind development. If no serious problems are identified, leases could be issued late next year or in early 2012."

Allendale County to get biomass plant. Columbia Regional Business Report

"Economically hard-hit Allendale County will get a $50 million investment in the form of a biomass plant to be built by Southeast Renewable Energy. The plant is expected to generate 20 new jobs over the next five years.

Southeast Renewable Energy will build a 15-megawatt plant that will be fueled using timber residues. The investment was announced Monday by the S.C. Commerce Department, Allendale County and the SouthernCarolina Alliance.

Company president and CEO Raine Cotton said that Southeast Renewable Energy is “working diligently to get the last few steps of the project worked out, including permitting, that will allow the project to begin construction in early 2011.”

The plant is expected to be completed in late 2012, and the company will sell the green power to Santee Cooper. It is expected that the new plant will also create indirect jobs in the logging, trucking and forest product industries."

SC's David Wright Elected First Vice-President of NARUC

Congratulations to S.C. Public Service Commissioner David Wright on being Elected First Vice-President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). As First Vice-President, Commissioner Wright will serve on the NARUC Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, and will assist the President in the general oversight of the association. Past history indicates that Wright will also be in line for elections as President of the influential national association in the following year.

FCC top lawyer suggests agency not gutted by Comcast case

By Sara Jerome - 11/22/10 03:47 PM ET

Speaking at a panel discussion over the weekend, Federal Communications Commission general counsel Austin Schlick seemed to suggest that the FCC may not need to apply a so-called "nuclear option" to move on its broadband goals.

Watch live streaming video from harlaninstitute at

Genachowski might need to win Title II proponent Copps to pass net-neutrality rules - The Hill's Hillicon Valley

By Sara Jerome - 11/23/10 08:06 AM ET

"On the one hand, Genachowski could try to win over one or both Republican colleagues with a softly worded compromise proposal.

Or, he can try to win over staunch net-neutrality supporter Michael Copps, a Democratic commissioner who has called for regulating broadband service under Title II of the Communications Act, which industry sees as 'the nuclear option.'

Proposals that would satisfy these two flanks would likely look very different, according to analysts."

GOP fight for energy gavel mars otherwise seamless transition - The Hill's E2-Wire

By Gautham Nagesh - 11/22/10 07:10 PM E
"Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has positioned himself as the favorite in large part because Rep. Joe Barton (Texas), the current ranking Republican, needs a waiver from GOP rules to continue leading a committee on which he has served as chairman and ranking member.

But Upton’s conservative credentials have come under challenge from Rush Limbaugh and other critics on the right, leaving a door open for Barton as well as Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.). Upton has spent the weeks since the midterm elections proving his conservative bona fides, promising to crack down on spending and prevent federal funds from paying for abortions."

Monday, November 22, 2010

AllGov - News - Supreme Court to Decide if AT&T Has Personal Privacy Rights

"At issue is whether AT&T can block the release of company documents, previously delivered to the Federal Communications Commission, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The FCC intended to turn over the AT&T materials to comply with the FOIA request, when the company sued to stop the government and won a ruling before a federal appeals court."

FCC may regulate Internet lines days before Christmas - The Hill's Hillicon Valley

By Sara Jerome - 11/19/10 04:50 PM ET
'While many Americans will be enjoying their eggnog on that day, I'm sure the broadband providers won't be pleased to find this piece of coal in their stockings,' an industry source jibed."

Upton: Hastings lacks support to ‘steal’ energy jurisdiction - The Hill's E2-Wire

By Ben Geman - 11/21/10 01:57 PM ET
"Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), the incoming chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, launched a bid last week to call the shots on energy policy in the next Congress.

Hastings wants to create a new Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which he argues would create more effective governance and “level the power” between the two panels. But Upton and other Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans say their panel has proven its effectiveness, and are trying to crush the plan."

Upton: Freshmen oppose Barton waiver for Energy gavel - The Hill's E2-Wire

By Ben Geman - 11/21/10 01:46 PM ET
"Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who hopes to chair the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, does not believe incoming freshman Republicans are keen on granting Upton’s main rival a term-limit waiver that he’s seeking.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the panel’s senior Republican, is a seeking a waiver from GOP caucus rules that prevent members from serving more than three terms (which is six years) atop a committee."

How to prep your home for an electric car - Technology -

- AP Energy Writer
"Whether you go for a charging station or not, carmakers and utilities want your home checked out to make sure the wiring in your house and in your neighborhood can handle the extra load. Plugging into a regular socket that serves other appliances will almost certainly trip your circuit breaker. The extra electricity demand from a home charger can overwhelm small neighborhood transformers and kill power to a whole block."

Local governments installing car chargers - Business -

"Local governments in Columbia, Greenville, Charleston, Conway, Myrtle Beach, Spartanburg, Rock Hill and Union each plan to install the charging stations. Columbia will have 10 stations — two each in the parking garages on Washington, Park, Taylor and Lincoln streets and the Arsenal Hill garage on Lincoln Street."

Utilities thrilled and worried about electric cars - CNBC

"Progress Energy is expecting electric car clusters to form in Raleigh, Cary and Asheville, N.C. and around Orlando and Tampa, Fla. Duke Energy is expecting the same in Charlotte and Indianapolis. The entire territory of Texas' Austin Energy will likely be an electric vehicle hot spot.

Adding an electric vehicle or two to a neighborhood can be like adding another house, and it can stress the equipment that services those houses. 'We're talking about doubling the load of a conventional home,' says Karl Rabago, who leads Austin Energy's electric vehicle-readiness program. 'It's big.'"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Court dismisses Duke's appeal of power-sale ruling -

By Bruce Henderson

The commission's customer advocacy arm, its Public Staff, argued that N.C. customers could be hurt by the deal and others like it. If Duke signed many such wholesale contracts, the Public Staff said, the utility might have to build new power plants. If those wholesale customers later bought power from other utilities, Duke's retail customers could be stuck paying for those plants."

House Republican wants leaders to end 'painful to watch' Energy panel fight - The Hill's E2-Wire

"Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the panel’s senior Republican, wants to be chairman in the next Congress. But he would have to receive a term-limit waiver, one that GOP leaders seem unlikely to grant. ...
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) is also gunning for the top slot and is believed to be the leading candidate, but his critics argue he’s too moderate and arecirculating research on his voting record to make their case. ..
Two other committee Republicans – John Shimkus (Ill.) and Cliff Stearns (Fla.) – want the job if Barton is thwarted."

Robinson Plant to test sirens at full volume | SCNOW

"Progress Energy will test the alert notification sirens in the 10-mile area around the H.B. Robinson Nuclear Plant, located about five miles from Hartsville, between 2 and 5 p.m. Tuesday in cooperation with Chesterfield, Darlington and Lee counties."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Google Voice app finally approved for iPhone

The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 16, 2010; 6:49 PM
"The breakthrough announced Tuesday resolves a stand-off that triggered a Federal Communications Commission inquiry into whether Apple and AT&T Inc., the iPhone's exclusive U.S. service provider, were trying to stifle competition by keeping the app off the popular device."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Groups Appeal NC Decision to Allow Forests to Be Burned for Energy

"'The commission's decision allows utilities to meet state renewable energy targets by unrestricted cutting, chipping and burning forests. In the appeal, we are asking the Court of Appeals to take a fresh look at this important legal issue,' said Gudrun Thompson, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center."

Energy Update 63% Say Renewable Energy is A Better Long-Term Investment for America Than Fossil Fuels

Rasmussen Reports
"A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 63% of Likely U.S. Voters say renewable energy is a better long-term investment than fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal. Twenty-seven percent (27%) feel that investing in fossil fuels is a better decision. Eleven percent (11%) of voters are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
This is the highest level of support for renewable energy since August, though voters have consistently favored it over fossil fuels since Rasmussen Reports began surveying this question in late January ."

SCANA CEO: Nuclear project is running below budget

By Mike Fitts
Published Nov. 16, 2010

"SCE&G’s demand growth has slowed during the recession, Timmerman said, but it sees it rising back toward its previous growth rate of 2.2% per year.

Timmerman said that once both new reactors are online, SCE&G’s carbon output will have declined more than half. That should insulate the utility from any economic repercussions of climate change regulations, he said"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Department of Energy - DOE Launches New Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advisory Committee

"ERAC will periodically review EERE's portfolio and provide advice to the Secretary of Energy on a variety of areas including: completion of long-range plans, priorities and strategies; program funding; and any issues of specific concern expressed by the Secretary of Energy or the Assistant Secretary for EERE. ERAC is expected to meet twice a year; the meetings will be open to the public. The Committee is being established in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).� DOE also expects to organize various subcommittees under ERAC.� Learn�more about the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advisory Committee."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

‘Smart’ Electric Meters Draw Complaints of Inaccuracy -

Erich Schlegel for The New York Times
Sgt. John Robertson and his wife, Kim, put in energy-saving bulbs and took other steps to cut costs. But his electricity bill is higher, he says, because of  a smart meter installed at his home

 "But because of faulty technology in some cases, and more often through general shortcomings in consumer education and customer-service support by many utilities, smart meters are leaving many customers dumbfounded."

Regulators fault Westinghouse on reactor plans - Financial & Business - Wire -

"Westinghouse formally responded to the violation Friday, company spokesman Scott Shaw said. Three issues identified by NRC officials were resolved during the inspection. Shaw said the firm will address the remaining items by taking steps that include giving the NRC new information, revising some analyses and changing a door in the power plant's design.
Shaw said the response will not cause a delay in getting a final decision from the NRC on the reactor design, which is expected next year."

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