New York’s Cuomo Wants $40 Million To Respond To New Virus

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) MGN ImageALBANY — New York’s governor is asking state lawmakers to approve spending $40 million to respond to the threat of the Coronavirus, while New York City has set plans that include making as many as 1,200 hospital beds available.The state hasn’t had any confirmed cases of the new virus, but officials are waiting for test results regarding one person in Long Island’s Nassau County, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters Wednesday.In separate news conferences, he and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stressed efforts to get ready for a potential outbreak of the fast-spreading virus.“Yes, we’re preparing, but this situation is not a situation that should cause undue fear among people,” Cuomo said. Since emerging in China in December, it has sickened more than 81,000 people and killed 2,700 around the world. U.S. cases total more than 50 so far, and the White House has requested $2.5 billion for vaccine development, treatment and protective equipment.In New York, Cuomo’s proposed $40 million would go toward hiring additional state health staffers and buying supplies including protective masks and gloves.The Democratic governor said he also plans to propose legislation to help the state make sure hospitals and health departments are prepared for a possible outbreak.He said he also plans soon to convene state and local health officials to develop uniform steps for handling quarantines and other methods of stopping the virus from spreading.New York City has already coordinated a plan to devote 1,200 public and private hospital beds, if needed, to COVID-19 patients or people undergoing testing, de Blasio said.“There is not a single reason for panic,” the Democrat said. “There’s a reason for people to focus and follow through on the basics. If we do that, we will all be safe.”The city had previously quarantined three people for observation in hospitals and a hotel, but all have since gone home, said the city’s deputy mayor for health, Dr. Raul Perea-Henze.The city also is seeking at least 300,000 more protective masks to add to the 1.5 million masks it has already given to health care workers and first responders, officials said. Police Chief of Department Terence Monahan said the force has distributed “thousands upon thousands” of gloves, masks and wipes to patrol, transit and housing officers.With masks in high demand, de Blasio called on the federal government to step in to get more produced and to “help us and all other localities to get masks we need.”New York City and state have been asking federal health officials for permission to do their own testing for the virus. Tests are now performed only at federal labs, and getting results can take a day or more.In a conference call with media conference Tuesday, Dr. Nancy Messonier of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said officials hoped to be able to send test kits to more state and local government labs soon, after resolving some hitches.“We are rapidly moving towards getting those kits more available in the U.S.,” she said.last_img read more

Hawaiian Electric seeks 900MW of renewables and storage for fossil fuel phaseout

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Hawaiian Electric issued a long-awaited request for proposals on Thursday for about 900 megawatts of renewable energy and energy storage projects. It’s the utility’s second major round of contracts in the past year seeking to marry variable solar and wind power with the capacity and flexibility of batteries.But the Variable Renewable Dispatchable Generation and Energy Storage RFPs that opened on Thursday are a bit more complicated than their headline figures might indicate. The RFPs are seeking technologies equal to 594 megawatts of solar for Oahu, 135 megawatts for Maui and up to 203 megawatts for Hawaii Island.Unlike its first massive solar-storage procurement in January, HECO’s new RFPs are broken into a number of specific projects and specific needs across its three islands, with a mix of different technologies required. This complexity comes from the fact that these RFPs have been structured to help replace two big fossil-fuel-fired power plants to close in the next five years — the AES Hawaii coal-fired power plant that serves about one-sixth of Oahu’s peak demand, set to retire in 2022, and the oil-fired Kahului plant on Maui, set to close in 2024.This impending loss of two big spinning generators has pushed HECO and regulators to approve a mix-and-match of technology combination to replace them. That will make them hard to compare directly to HECO’s first round of procurements, as well as the utility-scale solar-plus-storage bids on the mainland.Developers winning HECO’s first-round RFP in January shocked the industry with prices ranging from 12 cents per kilowatt-hour to a record-breaking 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, as compared to average Hawaiian solar-storage project prices of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2017 and 13.9 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2016.But “the Phase 2 RFP takes a more technically advanced approach toward resource planning,” Manghani stated in a July GTM Squared article in July. First, there’s a standalone storage component, with HECO seeking about 200 megawatts on Oahu and 40 megawatts on Maui, to provide capacity-like features to the respective island electric grids. Second, it includes a separate call for customer-based grid services such as fast frequency response and capacity for all three islands, in amounts ranging from 4 megawatts on Hawaii to nearly 120 megawatts on Oahu.More: Hawaiian Electric seeks bids for 900MW of ‘dispatchable renewables’ and storage Hawaiian Electric seeks 900MW of renewables and storage for fossil fuel phaseoutlast_img read more

Unfinished Business

first_imgA couple of weeks ago, I set out to run the length of Shenandoah National Park on the A.T. While the distance (107 miles) was daunting, I had run that far before and figured the goal was achievable. Although it was to be a solo effort, the close proximity of the trail to Skyline Drive meant that there would be plenty of opportunities for crew support. My husband Mark agreed to follow along on the road and meet me every 4-6 miles with encouragement and refreshments. Early Saturday morning we packed the car and drove up to Front Royal; six hours later, I was off on my adventure.For the first twenty or so hours of my run, I felt great – confident and happy to be on the trail. It had been a hectic week, so the opportunity to spend hours alone in the woods was a real luxury. Midway through the second afternoon, however, the euphoria had worn off and I was over it. Exhausted and worn down by the miles, as well as the heat and humidity, my spirit was broken. When I met my crew at mile 88, I informed them that I was calling it a day. Shock and disbelief filled Mark’s face as he encouraged, cajoled, and even begged me to continue, promising that I’d get a second wind and would feel better in a few miles.No such doing – I had made up my mind and felt okay with my decision. I assured him that I would not regret the choice.Fast-forward twenty-four hours (or maybe it was only twelve) and I’m doing what all runners recovering from a DNF do:  planning my next attempt and struggling to make sense of my decision to pull the plug. I’ve been running and racing for 31 years and have DNF’d exactly three times, all due to significant injury. This time, I wasn’t injured – just hot and exhausted. What made me quit? Am I getting soft in my old age? And is it okay to accept defeat sometimes? I challenged that trail to a duel and I lost. It happens…but usually not to me.As I’ve processed this experience, one thing that I’ve realized is that the fact that this was a solo journey, rather than an organized race, made it easier to quit. Knowing that I had no one to answer to other than myself made stopping seem like less of a big deal. That, in turn, raised questions of why I run and for whom. It’s not easy to admit that part of the reason I push beyond the pain and discomfort is for the accolades I’ll receive from others. Big victories and course records garner a lot more attention than solitary excursions. It is far more difficult to persevere knowing that my accomplishment (or failure) will be unknown except to those closest to me. 1 2last_img read more

Senators continue Equifax criticism during Wednesday hearings

first_img continue reading » Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith on Wednesday continued his tour on Capitol Hill to defend his previous employer’s response to a data breach that disclosed the personal financial information of more than 145 million Americans.Smith testified first in the morning before the Senate Banking Committee, followed by an afternoon hearing with the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy Technology and the Law. Similar to Tuesday’s experience, lawmakers quizzed Smith about the timeline of events, including who knew what details and when.Senate Banking Member Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., condemned Equifax’s business model, noting the firm makes money from data breaches – including its own – because more Americans then sign up for identity theft protections. She also noted that small banks and credit unions will be hurt because they’ll have to shoulder the costs of issuing new cards to members. 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Cablevision Sale To Altice Gets State Approval, With Conditions

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) voted Wednesday to approve the $17.7 billion purchase of Bethpage-based Cablevision Systems Corp. by the European media conglomerate Altice N.V., clearing the last major regulatory hurdle.Last month the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that the pending acquisition of Cablevision, which owns Newsday and News12, “serves the public interest,” citing the “benefits of increased broadband speeds and more affordable options for low income customers.”On Wednesday, New York’s PSC weighed in, approving the sale but imposing some public interest conditions on Altice that it estimates will provide $243 million in benefits to New York consumers, such as creating “a new low-income broadband program,” building out its network in “unserved areas” and providing about $40 million in additional benefits stemming from Cablevision’s participation in a “new federal broadband affordability program.”The PSC’s approval was not a surprise for Altice, which has already been on record anticipating that the sale would close in the second quarter of this year.“Altice is pleased to have obtained approval from the New York State Public Service Commission for the acquisition of Cablevision,” said Altice spokesman Jimmy Asci. “This follows approvals received from the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and 67 local municipalities. We remain on track to closing the transaction as expected.”As for what the purchase portends for the future of Newsday and News 12 Long Island, Altice was mum.“We’re not commenting any further,” Asci said in an email to the Press.The PSC hailed the approval as a victory for the state because of the conditions it had imposed on the deal.“As a result of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s strengthening of our oversight of the sale of cable companies, we were able to put in place rigorous conditions on the transaction to ensure it was in the best interest of customers and the State as a whole,” Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman said in a press release. “With our decision today, we will see a significant investment in New York’s communication landscape that improves quality, reliability, speed and affordability for Cablevision’s customers.”According to the PSC, Altice has agreed to triple the speed of its network to 300 megabites per second by the end of 2017, increase high-speed broadband access in rural and urban communities throughout its service territory, provide some 600,000 low-income households with affordable high-speed broadband at $14.99 per month and during declared state and federal emergencies provide free Wi-Fi service to all to coordinate restoration efforts with electric utilities that will make the “entire network more robust, reliable and resilient.”One of the concerns raised about the purchase was job protection, considering Altice’s reputation for slashing payrolls. The PSC’s approval says that for four years Altice is prohibited from laying off, involuntarily reducing or taking any action “intended to reduce (excepting attrition and retirement incentives) any customer-facing jobs,” such as call centers or walk-in centers.MORE: What does Cablevision sale mean for Newsday?Cablevision has roughly 1.9 million voice, broadband and video customers in New York with more than 220 cable franchises in Long Island, New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. Altice has operations in western Europe, Israel, the French Caribbean, the Dominican Republican and some areas around the Indian Ocean.Once the deal closes as expected, Altice’s deal with Cablevision, the nation’s fifth-largest cable company, with 3.1 million subscribers, combined with Altice’s $6 billion acquisition last year of St. Louis-based Suddenlink Communications, the seventh-largest cable provider in the country, would make it the fourth-largest cable operator behind Comcast, Time Warner and Charter Communications.The mega-corporation was founded in 2002 by billionaire tycoon Patrick Drahi and has more than 55,000 employees worldwide. Soon it may be adding a few more in New York—while perhaps jettisoning some of the highly compensated executives, those earning more than $300,000 a year, whose salaries had drawn Drahi’s public disapproval when he initially discussed his offer to buy Cablevision last September in a conference call with investors.“I don’t like to pay salaries,” Drahi reportedly said. “I pay as little as I can.”last_img read more

Governor Wolf Signs Nineteen Bills Into Law

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter July 10, 2015 Bill Signing,  Press Release Governor Tom Wolf today signed nineteen bills into law. The following pieces of legislation are now law:Act 20 — House Bill 73 sponsored by Rep. Farry amends Title 42 (Judiciary), in sentencing, further providing for counseling of sexually violent predators.Act 21 — House Bill 88 sponsored by Rep. Day designates a portion of State Route 309 North in Lynn Township, Lehigh County, as the Lance Corporal Brandon J. Van Parys Memorial Road; and other highway designations.Act 22 — House Bill 140 sponsored by Rep. Killion amends Act entitled “An act providing for ridesharing arrangements” providing for a short title; further providing for definitions and for motor carrier laws not applicable to ridesharing; and making editorial changes.Act 23 — House Bill 157 sponsored by Rep. Heffley amends Title 51 (Military Affairs), in professional & occupational licenses, further providing for definitions and for retention and certification.Act 24 — House Bill 164 sponsored by Rep. Stephens amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses), in riot, disorderly conduct and related offenses, further providing for the offense of cruelty to animals.Act 25 — House Bill 221 sponsored by Rep. Caltagirone amends Titles 42 (Judiciary) & 53 (Municipalities), in selection & retention of judicial officers, for continuing education requirement; &, in municipal police education & training, for powers & duties of MPOETC.Act 26 — House Bill 229 sponsored by Rep. Marsico amends Title 18 (Crimes), in assault, further providing for the offense of harassment.Act 27 — House Bill 272 sponsored by Rep. Neuman amends Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act further providing for the title of act, for definitions and for sexual assault evidence collection program; and providing for rights of sexual assault victims.Act 28 — House Bill 329 sponsored by Rep. Harris designates a portion of Pennsylvania Route 22 in Mifflin County as the Corporal John S. Valent Memorial Highway.Act 29 — House Bill 501 sponsored by Rep. Keller designates the Conodoguinet Bridge on that portion of State Route 641 over the Conodoguinet Creek, Hopewell Township, Cumberland County, as the Pfc. Harold “Sam” E. Barrick Memorial Bridge.Act 30 — House Bill 972 sponsored by Rep. Pickett amends the Insurance Company Law, in life and endowment insurance and annuities, further providing for policy delivery.Act 31 — House Bill 1071 sponsored by Rep. Warner amends Development Permit Extension Act further providing for the definition of “approval” and for existing approval.Act 32 — Senate Bill 42 sponsored by Sen. Baker amends Title 75 (Vehicles), in licensing of drivers, further providing for issuance and content of driver’s license.Act 33 — Senate Bill 329 sponsored by Sen. Ward amends Public School Code establishing a Ready to Succeed Scholarship Program; and conferring powers and imposing duties on PHEAA and Department of Education.Act 34 — Senate Bill 330 sponsored by Sen. Ward amends Titles 18 (Crimes & Offenses) & 53 (Municipalities Generally), in other offenses, repealing the offense of municipal housing code avoidance; & in neighborhood blight reclamation & revitalization, & for failure to comply with code.Act 35 — Senate Bill 405 sponsored by Sen. Baker designates Exit 30 from Interstate 84 onto State Route 402, in Pike County, as the Corporal Bryon K. Dickson, II, Exit.Act 36 — Senate Bill 620 sponsored by Sen. Ward authorizes the release of Project 70 restrictions on certain land owned by the Borough of Carlisle, Cumberland County, in return for the development of park & open space lands within North Middleton Township.Act 37 — Senate Bill 687 sponsored by Sen. Browne amends Title 68 (Real and Personal Property), in general provisions for planned communities, further providing for applicability of local ordinances, regulations and building codes.Act 38 — Senate Bill 688 sponsored by Sen. Browne amends Title 68 (Real and Personal Property), in general provisions for condominiums, further providing for applicability of local ordinances, regulations and building codes.center_img Governor Wolf Signs Nineteen Bills Into Lawlast_img read more

ACCA supports lobbying DWP over changes in audited accounts regulations

first_imgThe Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has said a proposed new statement of recommended practice (SORP) for pensions accounting in the UK and Ireland should be adopted, but warned that existing reporting requirements could be confusing unless changed.The ACCA and its pensions technical advisory group welcomed the SORP consultation devised by the Pensions Research Action Group (PRAG) on the recommended practice for financial reports of pension schemes.It said: “The ACCA agrees with much of the PRAG’s objectives, including that of not extending reporting requirements beyond those of the Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 102.”The proposed SORP gave more guidance for preparers of pension scheme accounts under FRS 102, which it said was already a standard that offered conciseness. “However, the ACCA has responded to the 127-page consultation with detailed specific concerns, including that confusion could arise unless there is a change to existing, and now outdated, statutory reporting requirements for investment disclosures,” it said.The association said the PRAG was now liaising with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) with the aim of overhauling the prescriptive disclosures in the Audited Accounts Regulations, and said the ACCA wholeheartedly supported the lobbying of the DWP to get the changes in place as soon as possible.Paul Cooper, corporate reporting manager at the ACCA, said: “For the ACCA, the accounting standard FRS 102 and the SORP need to offer a realistic approach to reporting on pensions for the benefit of trustees, employers, investors and pension holders themselves.”The proposed SORP did help to meet these aims, he said, but added that there was work to be done in practice. “The SORP needs to be implemented as smoothly as possibly by preparers,” he said.last_img read more

IPE Awards: Asset allocation key when making ‘in-house’ decision

first_imgThe key criterion to determine whether pension funds build internal investment capabilities or use external asset managers should be asset allocation strategy over a focus on cost, experts have said.Speaking at the IPE Conference & Awards 2014 in Vienna, chief executives from leading pension funds said cost-based decisions were inappropriate for deciding how to manage key asset management functions.Christian Böhm, chief executive at €4bn APK fund in Austria, said the major factor would be the type of asset allocation model operated by the fund.“If you have a dynamic asset allocation model, you need in-house capacity to make decisions,” he said. “Another factor is the knowledge base you have. If you force your investment professionals to follow market developments, they are more captured on what is going on.“The cost issue is not the most important factor – for us, the decision was based on how we can run our model and build up the knowledge base.”CIO of the UK’s Coal Pension Fund Stefan Dunatov supported this and said the real competitive advantage to in-house capabilities was the ability to time investment decisions.“It doesn’t matter how big or small a pension fund is, [with in-house skill], your real advantage is time,” he said.“Being able to ride out the bad times and spot the good valuation, that to me is the biggest advantage and not being sucked into a decision based on whether a team is one and half basis points cheaper than an external manager.”Mike Boychuk, chief executive of the Canadian Bell Pension Fund – which, after a significant strategy switch in 2009, reassessed its in-house and external expertise – also supported the view. The mature fund shifted around 75% of assets into a liability-driven investment strategy mostly accounted for by fixed income holdings.Boychuk said, as a result, the fund began to outsource all non-fixed income investments retaining internal management for its LDI strategy in-house.“First and foremost, our direction was making sure we had the right structure for us,” he said.“Making an in-house team gives you greater control over your assets. Once you give it to an external manager, it is gone, and the control you have is as well.”last_img read more