This week’s news in brief

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article This week’s news in briefOn 10 Oct 2006 in Personnel Today Discriminating employersEmployers are still discriminating against women with cancer, despite changes in the law aimed at protecting employees from unfair treatment. Figures from the Disability Rights Commission’s (DRC) helpline show that, thisyear, the DRC has taken an average of two calls a week from women with breast cancer complaining of being treated unfairly in the workplace. www.personneltoday.com/37517.articleStrategic HR in publishingHR is becoming increasingly high-profile in the publishing industry, according to Rachel Stock, HR director at Random House Group. The function has historically been seen as administrative in publishing, and fairly unstructured and ad hoc as a result, Stock said. But companies are starting to take issues such as diversity, pay and talent management more seriously, and HR is becoming more strategic as a result.www.personneltoday.com/37524.articleNHS graduate assessmentThe NHS has launched a graduate assessment process which aims to save hours of senior managers’ time. The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme attracts more than 6,000 applications every year. The programme is open to postgraduate and mature students as well as those who are already working in the NHS. The new assessment process uses online situational judgement and motivational trait tests to select candidates. www.personneltoday.com/37498.articlelast_img read more

BRC reports first drop in food sales for 2015

first_imgFood sales fell for the first time this year, as budgets and weather affected shopper habits.The category saw like-for-like (LFL) sales down 1.6% for the three months from May to July 2015, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).Total food sales were up 0.1% for the period, but the BRC said this was likely to be a short-term blip in an overall downward trend, as persistent deflation/low inflation would continue to hold back top-line growth for the remainder of the year.Helen Dickinson, director general at the BRC, said: “Despite being a slight slowdown compared with last month, today’s sales growth of 2.2% compared with this time last year reflects the continued hard work by retailers to tap into increasing consumer demand. Interestingly, of all categories covered by our monitor, total food sales were the worst-performing, recording a fall for the first time this year.“Retailers have been offering great prices and special offers on everyday essentials for some time. Despite 27 consecutive months of falling shop prices, it seems that consumers remain content to budget carefully on their necessary food outlay and spend that little bit more on purchases they have perhaps deferred.”Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, said: “Food and drink sales are particularly influenced by the weather at this time of year. July began with a heatwave and strong food sales, but the rest of the month was colder and wetter than average and July’s overall performance disappointed after a run of more encouraging months.“The latest BRC-Nielsen Index showed a slight return to food inflation, and IGD’s ShopperVista data shows the number of shoppers anticipating falling food prices has dropped from 23% in January to 13% today. However, further oil price falls and forecasts for strong global harvests will put more downward pressure on food prices, which is good news for shoppers but will constrain sales.”The sales monitor also said the sector continued to face structural challenges through increased competition, changing consumer habits and deflation.last_img read more

Three little pigs

first_imgThe calf-cloning experts here have broadened their capabilities with the successful birth of cloned piglets. “Three piglets from the same cell line and, therefore, with identical DNA (the same as identical twins) were born over the Memorial Day weekend,” said Mike Wanner, ProLinia president.UGA and ProLinia have successfully, and to much media attention, cloned calves in the past. But these are the first pigs.”Overall, the births were a major breakthrough and a success,” said Steve Stice, UGA CAES professor and Georgia Research Alliance eminent scholar with the UGA animal and dairy science department. He is the chief scientific officer of ProLinia. “The discoveries made during the process will be useful in improving efficiencies for future efforts.”AdjustmentsLead researcher and ProLinia principal scientist Scott Pratt directed many changes during the course of the pig cloning project. More is generally known about cattle reproductive systems than those of pigs. Many adjustments were necessary.”Less is known about how to culture embryos, for instance,” Pratt said.The cloned embryos also have to be surgically implanted into the recipient sows. This is challenging, too. Researchers are attempting to develop techniques to avoid surgery in the future.Commercially Viable”ProLinia will take this research and the clones straight to the commercial industry in order to improve the overall breeding stock of large-scale producers,” Wanner said.The piglets were cloned using cells (skin tissue) from a boar in the commercial breeding operation of Smithfield Foods, Inc.Smithfield is the largest hog producer in the world. It owns and operates hog farms with about 700,000 sows in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Missouri, Illinois, Mexico, Brazil and Poland.By design, the pork industry can use this kind of research and easily take advantage of improved genetics, said Larry Benyshek, head of the CAES ADS department.Artificial insemination is primarily used in the pork industry, Benyshek said. However, boar semen doesn’t freeze, which is different from cattle. So, fresh semen must be used.There is “a need for duplicate individual boars to be placed in different regions, making access to fresh semen of common genetics easier for individual producers or corporate pork producers,” Benyshek said. “The major benefit of cloning will be to extend the impact of individuals of superior genetic merit.”Next StepThe next step for the pigs will be catching up with the beef. UGA’s most recently cloned calf, K.C., was cloned from a slaughtered cow that had been selected for its quality. In the future, UGA and ProLinia hope to do this with pigs.”We will be collecting cells from pig carcasses that have already been selected for their quality,” Stice said.Cloning promises to provide a more consistent quality product to consumers, Stice said. Using pig cloning, it is estimated, could save some in the pork industry $5 to $15 per pig.The AgreementsThe technology used to clone the pigs will be patented by UGA but licensed exclusively to ProLinia. The UGA Research Foundation provides ProLinia access to UGA laboratories and facilities.Smithfield has a minority stake in ProLinia. However, ProLinia is allowed to sell cloned animals to other large-scale producers.”We can and will advance the work we are doing for other large-scale producers in the hog industry,” Wanner said.(EDITOR’S NOTE: The piglets and various ProLinia cloned cattle, including KC, will be on display and available for photographers at the Edgar Rhodes Animal and Dairy Science Large Animal Research Unit at the University of Georgia from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 27. Contact Chuck Toney at (706) 583-0370 or [email protected])last_img read more

CVPS reports Q1 increase in revenues and earnings

first_img7,104 Operating Expenses 13,353,973 (dollars in thousands, except per share data) Salisbury Substation: We completed internal testing and found PCBs and TPH, in addition to small quantities of pesticides in the soil and concrete at this site.  The substation is located adjacent to the Salisbury hydroelectric power station.  It is scheduled to be retired and replaced during 2011.  Final results indicated that PCB, TPH and pesticide concentrations exceed state and federal regulatory limits at portions at the site.  We submitted a letter to the VANR Sites Management Section proposing that PCB remediation efforts would be sufficient mitigation for TPH and pesticide contamination, and proposed to collect soil samples for confirmatory testing of these compounds.  Remediation is expected to begin during the third quarter of 2011.  As of March 31, 2011, our estimate of the remaining obligation was $0.2 million. Dividends declared on preferred stock Under the Agreement, subject to regulatory approval, we would be entitled to purchase an energy quantity of up to 85.4 MW from November 1, 2015 to October 31, 2016; 96.4 MW from November 1, 2016 to October 31, 2020; 98.4 MW from November 1, 2020 to October 31, 2030; 112.1 MW from November 1, 2030 to October 31, 2035; and 26.7 MW from November 1, 2035 to October 31, 2038. 2010 On March 10, 2011, the NRC voted 4-0 to approve the 20-year license extension through March 21, 2032 requested by Entergy-Vermont Yankee.  This approval removes the last federal-level regulatory requirement for relicensing of the Vermont Yankee station. $97,085 On February 25, 2011, we filed an MOU between us, the DPS, the Town of Proctor and Omya, with the PSB that resolves all the outstanding issues between the parties concerning our acquisition of Vermont Marble. As part of the settlement, we will pay $28.3 million for the generating assets and approximately $1 million for the transmission and distribution assets. We will be allowed recovery from customers of $27 million for the generating assets and the $1 million for the transmission and distribution assets.  Included in the MOU is the creation of a value sharing mechanism that provides for certain excess value received by us to be split between our customers, Omya and our shareholders if energy market prices and hydro improvements yield more value than anticipated.  This will provide us with an opportunity to recover the $1.3 million not otherwise recovered in rates. 23,941 Diluted earnings per share The VY PPA contains a formula for determining the VYNPC power entitlement following an uprate in 2006 that increased the plant’s operating capacity by approximately 20 percent.  VYNPC and Entergy-Vermont Yankee are seeking to resolve certain differences in the interpretation of the formula.  At issue is how much capacity and energy VYNPC Sponsors receive under the VY PPA following the uprate.  Based on VYNPC’s calculations the VYNPC Sponsors should be entitled to slightly more capacity and energy than they have been receiving under the VY PPA since the uprate.  We cannot predict the outcome of this matter at this time. 16,558 Net Income (679) Income tax expense Income tax expense Operating Revenues 3,247 2,956 Transmission – affiliates Interest Expense Total Operating Expenses 2,786 4,743 Purchased Power – affiliates Equity in earnings of affiliates Purchased Power (26) 3,255 11,725,484 We are seeking recovery of the incremental costs from Entergy-Vermont Yankee under the terms of the VY PPA based upon the results of certain reports, including an NRC inspection, in which the inspection team found that Entergy-Vermont Yankee, among other things, did not have sufficient design documentation available to help it prevent problems with the cooling towers.  The NRC released its findings on October 14, 2008.  In considering whether to seek recovery, we also reviewed the 2007 and 2008 root cause analysis reports by Entergy-Vermont Yankee and a December 22, 2008 reliability assessment provided by Nuclear Safety Associates to the State of Vermont.  Entergy-Vermont Yankee disputes our claim.  We cannot predict the outcome of this matter at this time. Entergy-Vermont Yankee has no obligation to supply energy to VYNPC over its entitlement share of plant output, so we receive reduced amounts when the plant is operating at a reduced level, and no energy when the plant is not operating.  We purchase replacement energy as needed when the Vermont Yankee plant is not operating or is operating at reduced levels.  We typically acquire most of this replacement energy through forward purchase contracts and account for those contracts as derivatives.  Our total VYNPC purchases were $17.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2011 and $16.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2010. 4,485 The rights and obligations of the Buyers under the HQUS PPA, including payment of the contract price and indemnification obligations, are several and not joint or joint and several. Therefore, we shall have no responsibility for the obligations, financial or otherwise, of any other party to the HQUS PPA. The parties have also entered into related agreements, including collateral agreements between each Buyer and HQUS, a Hydro-Québec guaranty, an allocation agreement among the Buyers, and an assignment and assumption agreement between us and Vermont Marble, related to the pending acquisition. Taxes other than income 4,202 Page 29 of 49 Page 27 of 49 Independent Power Producers:  We receive power from several Independent IPPs.   These plants use water or biomass as fuel.  Most of the power comes through a state-appointed purchasing agent that allocates power to all Vermont utilities under PSB rules.  Our total purchases from IPPs were $6.3 million for March 31, 2011 and March 31, 2010. Middlebury Lower Substation: By letter dated February 5, 2010, the VANR Sites Management Section informed us they require additional investigation of the soil contamination at the Middlebury Lower Substation.  This was a result of voluntarily submitted information from an internal soil sampling that we completed in the fall of 2009.  The soil sampling showed elevated levels of TPH, which will require remediation.  Some soil removal has already occurred and the remaining contaminated material will be removed in conjunction with the substation reconstruction.  As of March 31, 2011, our estimate of the remaining obligation was $0.1 million. 17,411 Transmission – other 87,752 703 6,928 2,257 Other Income Allowance for borrowed funds during construction Page 30 of 49 We are actively discussing the proposed redevelopment with consultants for the Town of Brattleboro and the Windham Regional Commission. We have indicated to the consultants our willingness to partner with the Town of Brattleboro through a formal remediation agreement to participate in the redevelopment. This participation will assure continued acknowledgement of site contamination. We received a non-binding letter from the Town of Brattleboro summarizing its preferred remedial plan. On June 30, 2010, the DOE filed its initial brief in the spent fuel damages litigation. This brief focuses on the costs awarded in connection with Millstone Unit #3.  DNC replied to the government’s brief in August, 2010.  The government’s reply brief was filed September 14, 2010 and briefing on the appeal is now complete.  Oral argument on the government’s appeal occurred before the Federal Circuit on January 12, 2011. CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME $0.35 Other income Basic earnings per share Under Vermont law, in addition to a favorable Vermont legislative vote, the PSB must issue a Certificate of Public Good in order for the plant to continue to operate after March 21, 2012.  On February 24, 2010, in a non-binding vote, the Vermont Senate voted against allowing the PSB to consider granting the Vermont Yankee plant another 20-year operating license.  The new Vermont Legislature elected on November 2, 2010 could vote differently, although the political makeup of the House and Senate remains largely unchanged and there is nothing to suggest that a new vote will be held.  Also, Vermont elected a new governor who advocated as a member of the Vermont Senate and during the gubernatorial campaign that the Vermont Yankee plant should close when its current license expires, and he maintains that position. 18,594 Average shares of common stock outstanding – diluted 3 NOTE 14 ‘ PENDING ACQUISITIONSVermont Marble Power Division:  On April 30, 2010, we signed a purchase and sale agreement with Omya, Inc. to purchase certain generating, transmission and distribution assets of Vermont Marble located in the State of Vermont.  Under this agreement, we will pay $33.2 million for the transmission and distribution assets and generating assets comprised of four hydroelectric generating stations.  The agreement contains usual and customary purchase and sale terms and conditions and is contingent upon federal and state regulatory approvals. The annual load factor is 75 percent for the remainder of the VJO power contract, unless the contract is changed or there is a reduction due to the adverse hydraulic conditions described below. Our contract for power purchases from VYNPC ends in March 2012, but there is a risk that we could lose this resource if the plant shuts down for any reason before that date, and its future beyond that date is uncertain. An early shutdown could cause our customers to lose the economic benefit of an energy volume of close to 50 percent of our total committed supply and we would have to acquire replacement power resources for approximately 40 percent of our estimated power supply needs.  While this has been a significant concern in the past, the ever-shortening span of time before the contract’s end and changes in the regional power market have decreased the risk the company might face.  The New England Market currently has a significant surplus of available energy and capacity, and due to significant reductions in natural gas prices, electrical energy is available at competitive rates. We are not able to predict whether there will be an early shutdown of the Vermont Yankee plant or whether the PSB would allow timely and full recovery of any costs related to such shutdown. 3,842 A second sellback contract provided benefits to us that ended in 1996 in exchange for two options to Hydro-Québec.  The first option was never exercised and expired December 31, 2010.  The second gives Hydro-Québec the right, upon one year’s written notice, to curtail energy deliveries in a contract year (12 months beginning November 1) from an annual capacity factor of 75 to 50 percent due to adverse hydraulic conditions as measured at certain metering stations on unregulated rivers in Quebec. This second option can be exercised five times through October 2015 but due to the notice provision there is a maximum remaining application of three times available.  To date, Hydro-Québec has not exercised this option. We have determined that this second option is not a derivative because it is contingent upon a physical variable. Production 5,395 DOE Litigation We have a 1.7303 joint-ownership percentage in Millstone Unit #3, in which DNC is the lead owner with 93.4707 percent of the plant joint-ownership.  In January 2004 DNC filed, on behalf of itself and the two minority owners, including us, a lawsuit against the DOE seeking recovery of costs related to the storage of spent nuclear fuel arising from the failure of the DOE to comply with its obligations to commence accepting such fuel in 1998.  A trial commenced in May 2008.  On October 15, 2008, the United States Court of Federal Claims issued a favorable decision in the case, including damages specific to Millstone Unit #3.  The DOE appealed the court’s decision in December 2008.  On February 20, 2009, the government filed a motion seeking an indefinite stay of the briefing schedule. On March 18, 2009, the court granted the government’s request to stay the appeal.  On November 19, 2009, DNC filed a motion to lift the stay.  On April 12, 2010, the stay was lifted and a staggered briefing schedule was proposed, to which DNC has responded with a request to expedite the briefing schedule so that the appeals of all parties can be heard concurrently. 56 The Windham Regional Commission and the Town of Brattleboro are currently pursuing the redevelopment of the gas plant site and waterfront area into vehicle parking with green space. This concept calls for the removal of the remnant gas plant building plus covering and otherwise avoiding contaminated areas instead of removing contaminated soil and debris. 111 Future Power Agreements  New Hydro-QuébecAgreement:  On August 12, 2010 we, along with Green GMP, VPPSA, Vermont Electric Cooperative, Inc., Vermont Marble, Town of Stowe Electric Department, City of Burlington, Vermont Electric Department, Washington Electric Cooperative, Inc. and the 13 municipal members of VPPSA (collectively, the ‘Buyers’) entered into an agreement for the purchase of shares of 218 MW to 225 MW of energy and environmental attributes from HQUS commencing on November 1, 2012 and continuing through 2038. 15,846 $8,333 NOTES FROM CVPS 10K Filing of May 5, 2011 (CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ENTIRE SEC FILING), in part explaining recent Vermont Yankee action, the pending deal for the acquisition of Vermont Marble Power Division and the Hydro-Quebec power purchase deal: 2,895 We have equity ownership interests in Maine Yankee, Connecticut Yankee and Yankee Atomic.  These plants are permanently shut down and completely decommissioned except for the spent fuel storage at each location.  Our obligations related to these plants are described in Note 4 – Investments in Affiliates. 8,425 Allowance for equity funds during construction To management’s knowledge, there is no pending or threatened litigation regarding other sites with the potential to cause material expense.  No government agency has sought funds from us for any other study or remediation. Nuclear Decommissioning Obligations We are obligated to pay our share of nuclear decommissioning costs for nuclear plants in which we have an ownership interest.  We have an external trust dedicated to funding our joint-ownership share of future Millstone Unit #3 decommissioning costs.  DNC has suspended contributions to the Millstone Unit #3 Trust Fund because the minimum NRC funding requirements have been met or exceeded.  We have also suspended contributions to the Trust Fund, but could choose to renew funding at our own discretion as long as the minimum requirement is met or exceeded.  If a need for additional decommissioning funding is necessary, we will be obligated to resume contributions to the Trust Fund. 90,157 Central Vermont Public Service Corporation (NYSE: CV) reported May 5 that its consolidated earnings for the first three months of 2011 were $8.4 million, or 62 cents per diluted share of common stock.  This compares to consolidated earnings of $4.2 million, or 35 cents per diluted share of common stock for the first three months of 2010. It attributed the earnings increase mostly to higher operating revenues.It announced on Wednesday preferred stock dividends. Meanwhile, common stock dividends remain at $.46 per share. On May 3, 2011 the CVPS Board of Directors approved the following resolution: “That out of the reserved and unrestricted retained earnings of the Company quarterly dividends on the Preferred Stock, $100 Par Value, of $1.04 per share on the 4.15% Dividend Series, $1.17 per share on the 4.65% Dividend Series, $1.19 per share on the 4.75% Dividend Series, and $1.34375 per share on the 5.375% Dividend Series, are hereby declared payable July 1, 2011 to stockholders of record at the close of business June 21, 2011.” 2011 vs. 2010Operating revenues increased by $6.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2011 compared to the same period in 2010 due to the following factors: §   Retail sales increased $7.2 million resulting primarily from a 7.46 percent base rate increase effective January 1, 2011 and higher customer usage due to colder weather in 2011. §   Resale sales decreased $3.6 million due to lower 2011 contract prices associated with the sale of our excess energy and lower volume available for resale due to higher retail load. §   The provision for rate refund increased $3.3 million primarily due to over- or under-collections of power, production and transmission costs as defined by the power cost adjustment clause of our alternative regulation plan.  This increase included the favorable impact of $3.4 million of net deferrals and refunds in 2011 vs. the favorable impact of $0.1 million of net deferrals and refunds in 2010. §   Other operating revenues decreased $0.8 million mostly due to mutual aid for other utilities in 2010. (654) On March 4, 2011 we signed an amended and restated purchase and sale agreement with Omya, Inc. to incorporate the terms of the MOU filed on February 25, 2011.  The PSB held a hearing on the matter on April 11, 2011 and we expect a ruling on the petition for approval of the transaction in the second quarter of 2011. There are specific contractual provisions providing that in the event any VJO member fails to meet its obligation under the contract with Hydro-Québec, the remaining VJO participants will ‘step-up’ to the defaulting party’s share on a pro-rata basis.  As of March 31, 2011, our obligation is about 47 percent of the total VJO power contract through 2016, and represents approximately $269.1 million, on a nominal basis. $0.62 Leases and support agreements Operating Leases: We have two master lease agreements for vehicles and related equipment.  On October 30, 2009, we signed a vehicle lease agreement to finance many of the vehicles covered by a former agreement.  Our guarantee obligation under this lease will not exceed 8 percent of the acquisition cost. The maximum amount of future payments under this guarantee at March 31, 2011 is approximately $0.4 million. The total future minimum lease payments required for all lease schedules under this agreement at March 31, 2011 is $3.3 million.  As of March 31, 2011 there is no credit line in place for additions under this agreement. The total acquisition cost of all lease additions under this agreement at March 31, 2011 was $5.3 million. 25,160 2,857 92 13,406,926 Average shares of common stock outstanding – basic 3,144 Brattleboro Manufactured Gas Facility: In the 1940s, we owned and operated a manufactured gas facility in Brattleboro, Vermont.  We ordered a site assessment in 1999 at the request of the State of New Hampshire.  In 2001, New Hampshire indicated that no further action was required, although it reserved the right to require further investigation or remedial measures.  In 2002, the VANR notified us that our corrective action plan for the site was approved.  As of March 31, 2011, our estimate of the remaining obligation is $0.5 million. (1,589) Total Other Income The obligations of HQUS and each Buyer are contingent upon the receipt of certain governmental approvals. On August 17, 2010, the Buyers filed a petition with the PSB asking for Certificates of Public Good under Section 248 of Title 30, Vermont Statutes Annotated. Technical hearings were held and final legal briefs were filed in the first quarter of 2011.  On April 15, 2011 the PSB issued an order approving the HQUS PPA, which we plan to execute as proposed.  In the event the HQUS PPA is terminated with respect to any Buyer as a result of such Buyer’s failure to receive governmental approvals, each of the other Buyers will have an option to purchase the additional energy. 11,756,303 Dividends declared per share of common stock (unaudited) $0.35 Hydro-Québec: We are purchasing power from Hydro-Québec under the VJO power contract.  The VJO power contract has been in place since 1987 and purchases began in 1990.  Related contracts were subsequently negotiated between us and Hydro-Québec, altering the terms and conditions contained in the original contract by reducing the overall power requirements and related costs.  The VJO power contract runs through 2020, but our purchases under the contract end in 2016.  The average level of deliveries under the current contract decreases by approximately 19 percent after 2012, and by approximately 84 percent after 2015.  Our total purchases under the VJO Power contract were $16.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2011 and $16.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2010 Interest on long-term debt $0.46 We are also subject to performance assurance requirements under our Vermont Yankee power purchase contract (the 2001 Amendatory Agreement).  If Entergy-Vermont Yankee, the seller, has commercially reasonable grounds to question our ability to pay for our monthly power purchases, Entergy-Vermont Yankee may ask VYNPC and VYNPC may then ask us to provide adequate financial assurance of payment. We have not had to post collateral under this contract. The HQUS PPA will replace approximately 65 percent of the existing VJO power contract discussed above, which along with the VY PPA supply the majority of Vermont’s current power needs. The VJO power contract and the VY PPA expire within the next several years. Other interest 92 Other operation 3,144 After the November election, Entergy announced it had begun pursuing a possible sale of the plant, apparently concluding that the plant had a better chance at remaining part of Vermont’s power supply under new ownership.  We vigorously engaged in contract talks with Entergy-Vermont Yankee for the specific purpose of increasing the chances the plant would continue to operate beyond 2012.  On March 29, 2011, Entergy announced its sale process had concluded unsuccessfully.  Consequently, the potential for state legislative and regulatory approval of continued plant operations is now, in our view, less likely.  However, as discussed more fully below, Entergy-Vermont Yankee is seeking to operate the plant beyond March 21, 2012, without such approvals. 4,657 Entergy-Vermont Yankee, previously attempting to overcome legislative concerns, recently challenged the state’s authority as it relates to relicensing.  In a federal lawsuit filed on April 18, 2011, Entergy-Vermont Yankee contended that the state was improperly attempting to interfere with its relicensing.  In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, Entergy-Vermont Yankee is seeking a judgment to prevent the state of Vermont from forcing the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to cease operation on March 21, 2012.  The complaint seeks both declaratory and injunctive relief, and contends that Vermont’s attempts to shutter the plant are preempted by the Atomic Energy Act, the Federal Power Act and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  The state of Vermont has vowed to vigorously defend its position.  The federal court has scheduled a pretrial status conference for May 5, 2011, during which time procedural matters will be discussed including the litigation schedule.  We are evaluating the potential impact of the litigation on our financial statements and on our customers.  The outcome of this matter is uncertain at this time. 7,726 Page 28 of 49 There are two sellback contracts with provisions that apply to existing and future VJO power contract purchases.  The first resulted in the sellback of 25 MW of capacity and associated energy through April 30, 2012, which has no net impact currently since an identical 25 MW purchase was made in conjunction with the sellback. We have a 23 MW share of the 25 MW sellback. However, since the sellback ends six months before the corresponding purchase ends, the first sellback will result in a 23 MW increase in our capacity and energy purchases for the period from May 1, 2012 through October 31, 2012. We also had a 35 percent ownership interest in the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant through our equity investment in VYNPC, but the plant was sold in 2002.  Our obligation for plant decommissioning costs ended when the plant was sold, except that VYNPC retained responsibility for the pre-1983 spent fuel disposal cost liability.  VYNPC has a dedicated Trust Fund that meets most of the liability.  Changes in the underlying interest rates that affect the earnings and the liability could cause the balance to be a surplus or deficit.  Excess funds, if any, will be returned to us and the other former owners and must be applied to the benefit of retail customers. $91,007 With Omya, Inc., we filed a joint petition with the PSB on August 2, 2010, requesting that they consent to the proposed sale by Omya and purchase by us of assets used in the public service business of Vermont Marble and approve certain related matters. As part of the proposed purchase and sale, we will acquire from Vermont Marble, among other things, four hydroelectric facilities on Otter Creek and Vermont Marble’s transmission and distribution facilities, which include approximately 56 miles of 46 kV transmission lines, 11 miles of 2.4/4.16 kV distribution lines, one distribution substation in the Village of Proctor, and two transmission substations. On September 14, 2010, the PSB held a prehearing conference and subsequently established a schedule for resolution of the docket including technical hearings and the filing of final legal briefs. 2011 On October 28, 2010, we received approval from FERC, subject to certain conditions, for the proposed transaction. Maintenance Long-Term Power Purchases Vermont Yankee: We are purchasing our entitlement share of Vermont Yankee plant output through the VY PPA between Entergy-Vermont Yankee and VYNPC.  We have one secondary purchaser that receives less than 0.5 percent of our entitlement.  See Note 4 ‘ Investments in Affiliates for additional information on the VY PPA. 1,838 We continue to pay our share of the DOE Spent Fuel assessment expenses levied on actual generation and will share in recovery from the lawsuit, if any, in proportion to our ownership interest.  We expect that our share of a recovery, if any, would be credited to our retail customers. 4,352 On April 25, 2011 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision affirming the spent fuel damages award for damages incurred through June 30, 2006 in connection with DOE’s failure to begin accepting spent fuel for disposal.  The government has the option to seek rehearing of the Federal Circuit decision and to seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court.   The time period for seeking rehearing is 45 days.  Legal Proceedings We are involved in legal and administrative proceedings in the normal course of business.  We do not believe that the ultimate outcome of these proceedings will have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows. (2,302) Three months ended March 31 $0.46 In accordance with FASB’s guidance for guarantees, we are required to disclose the ‘maximum potential amount of future payments (undiscounted) the guarantor could be required to make under the guarantee.’  Such disclosure is required even if the likelihood is remote.  With regard to the ‘step-up’ provision in the VJO power contract, we must assume that all members of the VJO simultaneously default in order to estimate the ‘maximum potential’ amount of future payments.  We believe this is a highly unlikely scenario given that the majority of VJO members are regulated utilities with regulated cost recovery.  Each VJO participant has received regulatory approval to recover the cost of this purchased power contract in its most recent rate applications.  Despite the remote chance that such an event could occur, we estimate that our undiscounted purchase obligation would be an additional $316 million for the remainder of the contract, assuming that all members of the VJO defaulted by April 1, 2011 and remained in default for the duration of the contract.  In such a scenario, we would then own the power and could seek to recover our costs from the defaulting members or our retail customers, or resell the power in the wholesale power markets in New England.  The range of outcomes (full cost recovery, potential loss or potential profit) would be highly dependent on Vermont regulation and wholesale market prices at the time. The agreement also includes a five-year, six-step phase-in of residential rate changes for existing Vermont Marble customers, which will be funded by Omya up to an amount estimated to be approximately $1.1 million. On October 24, 2008, we entered into an operating lease for new vehicles and other related equipment.  Our guarantee obligation under this lease is limited to 5 percent of the acquisition cost.  The maximum amount of future payments under this guarantee is approximately $0.1 million.  The total future minimum lease payments required for all lease schedules under this agreement at March 31, 2011 is $2.1 million. As of March 31, 2011 there is no credit line in place for additions under this agreement.  The total acquisition cost of all lease additions under this agreement at March 31, 2011 was $2.9 million. Performance Assurance We are subject to performance assurance requirements through ISO-NE under the Financial Assurance Policy for NEPOOL members.  At our current investment-grade credit rating, we have a credit limit of $3.2 million with ISO-NE.  We are required to post collateral for all net power and transmission transactions in excess of this credit limit.  Additionally, we are currently selling power in the wholesale market pursuant to contracts with third parties, and are required to post collateral under certain conditions defined in the contracts. The total reserve for environmental matters was $0.8 million as of March 31, 2011 and $0.8 million as of December 31, 2010.  The reserve for environmental matters is included as current and long-term liabilities on the Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets and represents our best estimate of the cost to remedy issues at these sites based on available information as of the end of the applicable reporting periods.  Below is a brief discussion of the significant sites for which we have recorded reserves. (2) Total Interest Expense Environmental Over the years, more than 100 companies have merged into or been acquired by CVPS.  At least two of those companies used coal to produce gas for retail sale.  Gas manufacturers, their predecessors and CVPS used waste disposal methods that were legal and acceptable then, but may not meet modern environmental standards and could represent a liability.  These practices ended more than 50 years ago.  Some operations and activities are inspected and supervised by federal and state authorities, including the EPA.  We believe that we are in compliance with all laws and regulations and have implemented procedures and controls to assess and assure compliance.  Corrective action is taken when necessary. Per Common Share Data: 7,187 Cleveland Avenue Property: The Cleveland Avenue property in Rutland, Vermont, was used by a predecessor to make gas from coal.  Later, we sited various operations there.  Due to the existence of coal tar deposits, PCB contamination and the potential for off-site migration, we conducted studies in the late 1980s and early 1990s to quantify the nature and extent of contamination and potential costs to remediate the site.  Investigation at the site continued, including work with the State of Vermont to develop a mutually acceptable solution.  In June 2010, both the VANR and the EPA approved separate remediation work plans for the manufactured gas plant and PCB waste at the site.  Remedial work started in August 2010 and concluded in early December 2010.  It was necessary to increase the reserve by $0.3 million in the first quarter of 2011, which represented Vermont’s hazardous waste tax on contaminated soil that has been removed from the site. Some additional sitework including grading and vegetation planting will occur in 2011.  In February 2011, we submitted a Construction Completion Report for the project to the EPA and VANR for review.  The report documented remedial construction and confirmatory sampling activities.  As of March 31, 2011, our estimate of the remaining obligation is less than $0.1 million. 5,707 129 Page 26 of 49 On June 22, 2010, we, along with GMP, made a claim under the September 6, 2001 VY PPA.  The claim is that Entergy-Vermont Yankee breached its obligations under the agreement by failing to detect and remedy the conditions that resulted in cooling tower-related failures at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in 2007 and 2008. Those failures caused us and GMP to incur substantial incremental replacement power costs. Dover, New Hampshire, Manufactured Gas Facility: In 1999, PSNH contacted us about this site.  PSNH alleged that we were partially liable for cleanup, since the site was previously operated by Twin State Gas and Electric, which merged into CVPS on the same day that PSNH bought the facility.  In 2002, we reached a settlement with PSNH in which certain liabilities we might have had were assigned to PSNH in return for a cash settlement we paid based on completion of PSNH’s cleanup effort.  As of March 31, 2011, our estimate of the remaining obligation was less than $0.1 million. 1,386 Utility Operating Income 6,941 PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATIONItem 1.  Financial Statements CENTRAL VERMONT PUBLIC SERVICE CORPORATION At March 31, 2011, we had posted $5.6 million of collateral under performance assurance requirements for certain of our power and transmission transactions, $5.5 million of which was represented by a letter of credit and $0.1 million of which was represented by cash and cash equivalents. At December 31, 2010, we had posted $6.6 million of collateral under performance assurance requirements for certain of our power and transmission transactions, $5.5 million of which was represented by a letter of credit and $1.1 million of which was represented by cash and cash equivalents. 4,744 712 We have requested that the Town of Brattleboro schedule a meeting with all interested parties to discuss the remediation of the gas plant site and overall waterfront properties.  We expect that this meeting will occur in the second quarter of 2011.  Subsequently, we will reassess its probabilistic cost estimate to remediate the site. Catamount Indemnifications On December 20, 2005, we completed the sale of Catamount, our wholly owned subsidiary, to CEC Wind Acquisition, LLC, a company established by Diamond Castle Holdings, a New York-based private equity investment firm.  Under the terms of the agreements with Catamount and Diamond Castle Holdings, we agreed to indemnify them, and certain of their respective affiliates, in respect of a breach of certain representations and warranties and covenants, most of which ended June 30, 2007, except certain items that customarily survive indefinitely.  Indemnification is subject to a $1.5 million deductible and a $15 million cap, excluding certain customary items.  Environmental representations are subject to the deductible and the cap, and such environmental representations for only two of Catamount’s underlying energy projects survived beyond June 30, 2007.  Our estimated ‘maximum potential’ amount of future payments related to these indemnifications is limited to $15 million.  We have not recorded any liability related to these indemnifications.  To management’s knowledge, there is no pending or threatened litigation with the potential to cause material expense.  No government agency has sought funds from us for any study or remediation. Earnings available for common stock $0.62 Page 31 of 49 Other deductions Depreciation $4,110 Readsboro Electric Department:  On October 27, 2010, we signed a purchase and sale agreement with Readsboro.  The $0.4 million purchase price includes all of the assets of Readsboro including about 14 miles of distribution line and associated equipment, and the exclusive franchise Readsboro holds to serve its 319 customers.  The sale is contingent upon approval by the PSB. On February 24, 2011 we, along with the DPS and Readsboro, filed a stipulation with the PSB that resolves the issues outstanding in our acquisition of Readsboro.  The PSB is expected to rule on the petition for approval of the transaction in the second quarter of 2011.last_img read more

Bethpage Doc Admits Taking Nude Photos of Minors

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Bethpage pediatrician is facing more than a dozen years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to sexually exploiting three minors and taking photos of their nude body parts, while also filing phony insurance claims under the guise of medical treatment.Federal prosecutors said between September 2007 and January 2008, 56-year-old Rakesh Punn exploited the three young females and submitted false insurance claims for medical treatment that never occurred. Instead, the “procedures” had been conducted solely for “sexual gratification,” prosecutors alleged in its January 2012 indictment.“We trust doctors—especially pediatricians—to care for our children,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “The defendant took advantage of that trust in the most egregious manner.”In doing so, Lynch added, Punn “betrayed his oath as a licensed physician.”The Bethpage doctor, who ran his office out of his home, was initially arrested by Nassau County police in July 2010 and charged with child pornography and unlawful surveillance. Those charges are still pending.Two years later, federal prosecutors filed their own indictment for sexual exploitation of children and health care fraud. He has been in custody since his initial arrest.He’s facing 15 to 30 years in prison.last_img read more

What is The Best Window Company on Long Island?

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A draft sneaking in from antiquated windows is a regular occurrence for owners of older homes, but for one local homeowner, Jim Ferraro, enough was enough.With the help of Window World of Long Island, Ferraro has replaced eight windows so far — and he plans on doing more.“The quality is second to none,” he says. “Top-notch windows. The difference was night and day regarding loss of cold and heat from the original windows they replaced.”Whether it’s helping out homeowners like Ferraro with drafty windows to save on their utility bills or remodeling the entire exterior of a house, Window World has decades of experience in the industry. The numerous awards they have received for superior products and service is a testament to their craftsmanship.“We’re proud to earn the Good Housekeeping Seal for the tenth consecutive year,” said Mark Bumgarner, vice president of franchise relations for Window World. “The seal remains a powerful indicator for our customers that we are dedicated to understanding and exceeding their needs as homeowners.”The seal, developed by one of the foremost consumer product laboratories in the country, is a testament to Window World’s commitment to quality products. They are currently one of two window companies that carry this prestigious seal.Since their establishment in 1995 as a local small business, they have since grown to become America’s largest exterior remodeler, providing renovations to millions of customers through their more than 200 franchise locations nationwide.Window World of Long Island marries the personalized service of a local business with the capital and selection of a nationally recognized company, cultivating an unbeatable customer experience. Offering a vast selection of windows, doors, siding, shutters, and accessories, the options are endless.Their large showroom in Farmingdale allows customers to visualize their projects before the contractors show up. And their product realization technology ensures Window World’s clients can upload images of their own homes to try on various windows and shutters for size.Over the years, Window World has also emphasized their belief in strengthening the community by opening a charitable arm to their company, known as Window World Cares. Since its founding a decade ago, Window World Cares has raised more than $7 million in a flourishing partnership with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, aiding in the fight against childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. For that, Window World was awarded New Corporate Partner of the Year in 2010.In addition to their charitable mission, another of Window World’s key qualities is sourcing their products locally. Through expert customer service, dedication to quality, and community outreach, Window World continues to have success. Their superior model has garnered their recognition as the Best Window Company for consecutive years in the Bethpage Best of Long Island contest.Last month, Window World announced the sale of their 15 millionth window, which is just more evidence that their motto of being “Simply the best for less” is ringing true for customers on Long Island and nationwide.“We are thrilled that our customers value our products and their experience working with us. Selling 15 million windows validates our belief that we are the best in the business,” says Chairman and CEO of Window World Tammy Whitworth. “People trust us with their most valuable investment, their home, time and time again. This shows that our franchise owners are doing a great job coming through for their clients and delivering stand-up service.”Window World of Long Island is located at 33 Hempstead Tpke., Farmingdale. They can be reached at 516-377-3500 or windowworld.comlast_img read more

Maneuvering through the new mortgage landscape

first_imgA new year’s hangover for mortgage originations?It’s official. The cake is baked. We can’t go back and now must find success in a post Ability To Repay/Qualified Mortgage (ATR/QM) world. To top it off, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) expects refinances to drop by a third compared with last year due to rising rates. Given these challenges, the menu for success won’t be a replica of 2013, but instead will morph in response to four major changes:ATR/QM: By the time of this article, originators will all have placed their bets and modified their offerings to comply with the new rules. A survey of small to large scale originators conducted by Informa Research Services in December 2013 suggested that most intend to offer some form of non-QM products. The most common exception features included Interest Only (IO) periods, limits to origination fees and points, and debt-to-income ratios greater than 43%. Most will not charge a premium for non-QM products, nor will they limit their availability to existing clients. For example, Wells Fargo has assigned about 400 underwriters to originate mortgages for the bank to retain, with as many as 40 percent of those loans likely to be non-QM. That segment will be increasingly sought after at a time when rising interest rates are curbing borrowing demand and banks are facing the biggest regulatory overhaul since the Great Depression. Non-QM could be between 25-40% of the bank’s total nonconforming loans, or about 5% of all mortgages.Rising Rates: The MBA expects the 30 year fixed rate mortgage to climb from a low of 3.5% in 2013 to a high of 5.1% in late 2014. The expected rise in the 30 year fixed rates should increase the adjustable rate mortgage market share. Additionally, MBA projects the 10 year Treasury Yield to climb from 2.0% to 3.3% on the back of improving macroeconomic conditions and the Federal Reserve tapering its bond-buying program.Favorable Housing Measures: Consensus forecasts, including the MBA, suggest Single Family Starts will grow by 10%-15% in 2014, and Total Existing Home Sales will climb by around 5%.Declining Originations: The favorable housing measures will prove inadequate to offset the impact of rising rates, with the MBA forecasting a 33% decline over 2013 due to a dramatic drop in refinances and the refinance share dropping from a high of 74% in 2013 to a low of 36% in late 2014.While daunting, these changes actually create opportunities for the opportunistic lender. Many will overreact or be forced out of the marketplace by these events. By focusing on the following four strategies, you can win in 2014:Sharpen Your Pencil: Recognize that you compete against every bank, credit union and broker/banker in your market AND on the Internet. Know your competition and ensure you are competitive in terms of price. Margins will compress – don’t cling to old norms. Pay special attention to your existing clients and how to offer meaningful relationship discounts that will keep them home with you.Know Your Costs: Understand your cost structure – focusing on what is fixed vs. variable. Invest in technology to reduce your costs of production and compliance. If you can’t make the numbers work, consider outsourcing originations to a third party like PHH to support your clients yet still capture profits.Seek Profitable Niches: These changes create opportunity for innovative portfolio product strategies that focus on potentially out of favor features (e.g., non-QM; construction). By carefully structuring your programs, you may be able to command higher prices while appealing to lower risk borrowers.Be Realistic: Set expectations for the long haul. If you’re not a Realtor-centric shop, don’t fool yourself into thinking you can create those relationships overnight and command their purchase business.The 2014 mortgage landscape doesn’t have to be bleak. While the list above may seem daunting, opportunity abounds for the disciplined and creative credit union. 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Paul Needles Paul Needels is SVP at Informa Research Services, Inc., overseeing all of the company’s lending product research. Informa Research Services is a market research company specializing in the financial … Web: www.informars.com Detailslast_img read more

‘The Goldsmith’ in Binghamton gets new owner

first_imgIn a Facebook post, Raytenberg says more details regarding the purchase will come at a later date. PHOTO SOURCE: Inessa Raytenberg Inessa Raytenberg confirmed with 12 News over the phone that she has purchased “The Goldsmith” on Lewis Street. She says all Goldsmith staff will keep their jobs. The Goldsmith has been open for 42 years. The previous owners told 12 News they would close the store after the holidays in December. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — A beloved jewelry store in Binghamton has a new owner.last_img read more

Binghamton High School honors more than 300 graduates, remembers Harper Stantz

first_imgShe was honored with a moment of silence and a single chair placed near her fellow students. The chair was adorned with flowers and yellow balloons in Harper’s memory. With New York State guidelines allowing no more than 150 people at in-person graduations, the school said doing the ceremonies this way made it so that each student was able to have their family present for the big moment. “We’re Patriots and that’s what today is about: it’s about being a Patriot,” Richman said. “It’s important for them to be with other Patriots and celebrate what it means to be a Binghamton High School graduate.” Students and faculty also took a few minutes out of the ceremonies to honor Harper Stantz, a 16-year-old student who was hit and killed by a drugged driver back in March 2019. It also provided an opportunity for students to reunite with friends they have been unable to see due to classes being cancelled. Binghamton High School principal Kevin Richman said this is part of why doing an in-person ceremony was so important. Richman also paid tribute to Harper as part of the commecement. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Binghamton High School celebrated more than 300 graduates in seven separate ceremonies at NYSEG Stadium on Sunday. The ceremonies began at 9 a.m., and ran until around 10 p.m. “Last year, we also lost a loved one of our own. Harper Stantz would be graduating here to day and I am sure she is smiling down on us right now,” Richman said to the crowd. “I haven’t seen them since the end of April, so it’s good to at least have on last school event,” said Adam Deuel of Binghamton.last_img read more

Applause for ‘rounded vision’ of Rogers’ plan

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img