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Posts from August, 2015
Telecommunication services are fraught with problems. The need to “stay connected” is more central to daily life than ever before, and these problems present a constant challenge for consumers. From unreliable phone service and internet connectivity to complex billing, and everything in between, consumers have a right to ask tough questions of service providers and the regulatory agencies that oversee them.
The Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon (CUB) welcomes the inaugural members of the new Portland Utility Board (PUB) who were confirmed by the City Council at its August 19th session.
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Janice Thompson, CUB’s Consumer Advocate for Portland Public Utilities, served on the Utility Oversight Blue Ribbon Commission that recommended the formation of the PUB. The PUB ordinance adopted in June by the City Council highlights that PUB and CUB will “provide two independent sources of utility analysis and oversight for the public and the Council.”
Elizabeth Royte’s Bottlemania was published in 2008, but is still informative. A longer review can be found here, but some key points are that Royte’s goal is to address these two questions:
• What are the physical differences between tap and bottled water, and how does water bottling affect the environment and local communities?
• Even if bottled water makes sense for health or other reasons, is it ethical to profit from its sale?
A controversy in… Full Post >>
As the 5th annual CUB Policy Conference draws closer, we are excited to preview each of the day’s six breakout sessions. We are starting with The Customer Side of the Meter: Efficiency and Demand Response, which will take place after lunch, from 12:45-2pm (you can view the entire schedule on the conference website.) We thought this a good place to start because it’s a useful snapshot of the variety of challenges utilities face in meeting the energy needs of the next decade.
Energy… Full Post >>
This week, the EPA released its final version of the Clean Power Plan, the EPA rule which will regulate carbon emission from power plants. While we are still in the process of digesting this rule, which is more than 1000 pages long, we have several observations we would like to share:
1. This is timely and necessary. Utility power plants have useful lives that last decades: 30, 40, or even 50 years. Climate change is real and carbon will be regulated. But we have been taking a… Full Post >>