May 20, 2011 |
When the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry announced Thursday that the state's unemployment rate had dropped in April to 7.5 percent, it was good news. But it frightened Gail E. Carmack, a paralegal who has been laid off since 2009. A good report means that 20 weeks of federally funded extended unemployment benefits - the final 20 weeks of benefits that anyone can receive - will come to an end June 11 unless Pennsylvania legislators act quickly to adopt the federal government's new formula for disbursing the money to the states.
December 14, 2010 |
HERE WE GO again. It was roughly a decade ago that Philadelphia-area electric customers were told about a bold, new era of choosing their own utility - with a goal of lower bills, cleaner energy or both - only to see that initial push collapse in the wake of the Enron scandal and rising energy costs. But starting in just 17 days, a new era of electricity choice begins in Philadelphia and its Pennsylvania suburbs, and this time real deregulation is expected to stick. That means savvy customers can save as much as $75 to $90 a year.
March 15, 2010 |
Under a dilapidated farm building in Gloucester County, Owen Pool tugs at his sweat-stained "Got Milk?" cap, stretches out his bad knee, and tries to make sense of the dairy industry. Pool says he's losing money every time he milks a cow, thanks to a bewildering mix of circumstances that includes a U.S. cheese surplus, the decline of consumer demand in China, and the lack of precipitation in Australia last year. "I talk to this economist in D.C., to try and stay on top of things," said the 71-year-old dairy farmer.
January 7, 2010 |
Late on a Friday afternoon in December, the Philadelphia Gas Works announced that it was seeking a rate increase that would leave customers paying about 6.5 percent more for gas service, about $8.50 a month on the average heating customer's bill. But there's more to the story. PGW is actually seeking a 14 percent boost in the base rate it charges for its own operations, and that comes on top of base-rate increases totaling 33 percent since 2006. There's more than one element to a PGW bill.
April 10, 2007 |
If the Philadelphia Gas Works has its way, its 496,000 customers will be paying at least 9.3 percent more for their basic service by the fall. And that prospect last night brought a cadre of customers, social workers, lawyers and politicians to the final of four Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission public-input hearings. The utility says the increase would bring in about $107 million in additional revenue annually. The rate hike does not include any increases in fuel costs, which could also be an additional cost to customers in the coming months.
January 5, 2007 |
The city's gas utility is like a consumer who's maxed out on credit and needs to raise cash not only to keep making payments, but to pay down debt as well. At a meeting yesterday with the Inquirer Editorial Board, executives of the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) spelled out why they asked state regulators last month for a $100 million-rate increase. Thomas Knudsen, PGW's chief executive, characterized the rate request as an urgent attempt to gain control over the company's growing debt.
December 22, 2006 |
The Philadelphia Gas Works will ask state regulators today to raise its rates by $100 million a year - its biggest request ever. If approved, this latest rate hike would increase the gas bill for a typical residential customer by $156 a year - equal to about an 8 percent hike. The request comes in the face of recent steps to lower rates due to declining costs for natural gas. Although wholesale gas prices are dropping, the cost of delivering that fuel to homes and businesses - factors that go into the so-called base rate - keeps going up. PGW said it needs to ask consumers to pay more.
November 1, 2006
THE DEVIL is indeed in the details. And your recent editorial ("Devil's in the details, not in PGW") got some key details wrong. Here are the facts. The Gas Commission did not "originally endorse PGW's plan" for management bonuses and later "kick up a fuss" after allegedly "realizing PGW had not singled out" the program in the prior year's budget. The lukewarm "endorsement" you cite was actually a staff recommendation that, on review, we rejected. We turned down PGW's 2007 budget request for $500,000 in management bonuses because PGW did not submit clearly articulated, well-defined quantitative goals and criteria for it. This is the norm for private industry "pay for performance" programs.
October 10, 2006 |
The Philadelphia Gas Works is a slow-motion crisis that everyone sees coming - and no one seems capable of stopping. A state authority that monitors Philadelphia's finances recently called the city-owned utility one of the greatest financial threats facing the next mayor. The city's gas commission, too, has warned that PGW's cash cushion is "almost nonexistent. " But when State Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Phila.) sent a letter in July to Gov. Rendell, urging him to release $200 million in state money to help PGW, he was met with silence.
September 22, 2001 |
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission granted a $39 million rate increase to the Philadelphia Gas Works yesterday, much less than the $65 million the utility had sought. The increase in the base rate, coupled with a gas-cost settlement that took effect this month, will mean a net reduction of $213, or 14 percent, in the average residential customer's annual bill. The base rate pays for operations, maintenance, and other expenses, but not the cost of gas. In August, a PUC judge had recommended a $44 million increase in PGW's base rate.