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Archive → December 16th, 2016

Help Citizens Utility Board Continue their battle for the people

Editors note: CUB helps reduce phone, gas, and electric bills for consumers. It is not funded by the Government, relying on donations from people and the private sector of business. Yes we in Homer Glen will get an increase in the cost of water, but the increase is substantially less than what Illinois American wanted us to pay.

The affected consumers hopefully will consider a Donation to CUB.

CUB spent a lot of money with their professional staff and outside expert witnesses to win a significant reduction in the Illinois-American Water rate increase request.

We people on Illinois American Water want to thank Cub for their assistance. Donate http://cubillinois.org/dev2016/

 

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CUB: Expert Testimony Shows Water Rate-Hike Request Should Be Slashed

 

Contact:
Jim Chilsen, chilsen@citizensutilityboard.org, (312) 513-1784

CHICAGO, May 23, 2016—Illinois American Water’s $43.2 million rate-hike request is an attempt to gain excessive profits and should be slashed by more than 60 percent, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) said Monday, citing expert testimony in the case.

Illinois American can justify no more than a $16.5 million rate hike, which is about 62 percent less than its current request, according to an analysis by Michael Gorman, an expert from Brubaker & Associates, Inc., a Missouri-based consulting firm that specializes in utility regulation. The testimony was filed jointly on May 19 by CUB, Illinois Industrial Water Companies (IIWC) and the Federal Executive Agencies (FEA).

“The expert testimony clearly shows that Illinois American’s rate-hike proposal is bloated,” CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. “Among other things, the analysis reveals that the company is asking for an excessive profit rate, and it unfairly expects customers to cover executive bonuses that should be paid for by shareholders. Customers deserve better, and that’s why we’re pushing to cut this rate hike as much as possible.”

Illinois American’s parent company, American Water, is the nation’s largest publicly traded water company. It made $476 million in profits in 2015. In January, the company asked the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) for permission to raise its water and wastewater rates. A decision in the case is expected in December.

Illinois American serves a wide range of communities across Illinois, from the Chicago region to Champaign and Peoria to Alton and Cairo. The company says its increase would impact “medium” water customers, using 4,500 gallons a month, by a range of about $1.15 to $10 more a month, and about $8 to $23 extra a month for wastewater customers. The hike could be even steeper for bigger users—an increase of up to $19 a month for water service, and up to $33 per month for wastewater service.

Among the findings of Gorman’s testimony:

  • Illinois American’s requested Return on Equity (ROE), or profit rate for shareholders, should be reduced from 10.75 percent to 9 percent. (That adjustment alone accounts for 40 percent of the reduction supported by CUB.)
  • In projecting revenue, the company exaggerated losses due to water conservation efforts by its customers. Gorman’s testimony, instead, relied on historical data, reducing the rate hike by $8.8 million.
  • Illinois American unfairly hoisted “incentive compensation” costs, such as certain executive bonuses, on the shoulders of its customers. CUB argues that such expenses are more appropriately covered by shareholders. The adjustment reduced the proposed increase by another $1.1 million.

CUB is Illinois’ leading nonprofit utility watchdog organization. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, CUB has saved consumers more than $20 billion by helping to block rate hikes and secure consumer refunds. For more information, call CUB’s Consumer Hotline, at 1-800-669-5556, or visit CUB’s award-winning website,  http://cubillinois.org/dev2016/

Please make a donation to help CUB continue their good work in saving us money on Utilities.

Source: Will County News

Homer 33C establishes fund for family who lost home in explosion

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

For Immediate Release:

Dec. 16, 2016

 

Homer 33C establishes fund for family who lost home in explosion

100 percent of donations will go directly to the family

 

Homer School District 33C is working with the United Way of Will County to establish a fund for the family who lost their home in yesterday’s house explosion.

 

By establishing the fund with United Way, all donations go into one tax deductible account. There are no hidden fees and 100 percent of all donations go directly to the family.

 

“That’s the advantage of working with United Way of Will County,” said Homer 33C Superintendent Kara Coglianese. “There are no hidden fees like online fundraising websites. Every penny raised goes to the family.”

 

On Thursday (Dec. 15), a Homer Junior High School seventh-grader and her father were injured when their home exploded. A gas leak had been reported in the area earlier.

 

Those interested helping the family may contribute in three ways:
●     Send a check directly to United Way of Will County at 54 N. Ottawa St., Suite 300, Joliet, IL 60432-4394. Please make the check out to “United Way of Will County” and write in the memo line: “Homer Glen Disaster Relief Fund.”

  • Submit a credit card payment through www.uwwill.org. Be sure to designate the donation to “Homer Glen Disaster Relief Fund.
  • Send a check (made out to “United Way of Will County”) to your child’s school. We will hand-deliver the donations to the United Way. Be sure to write in the memo line “Homer Glen Disaster Relief Fund.”

 

   “We are fortunate to live and work in a community of caring individuals who pull together in difficult times,” said Coglianese.

 

 

Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/homer33c?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

 

Source: Will County News

Uber launches self-driving cars in San Francisco

Uber launches self-driving cars in San Francisco

Uber launches self-driving cars in San Francisco
© Getty

Uber’s self-driving cars are hitting the road in San Francisco as part of the company’s expanded public test of autonomous vehicle technology.

The announcement comes three months after Uber began deploying semi-driverless cars to pick up passengers in Pittsburgh.

Now, some users hailing an UberX in San Francisco will be matched with one of the firm’s self-driving vehicles. An Uber employee will still remain behind the wheel of the car to take control if the vehicle falters or can’t handle a portion of a ride.

“Expanding our self-driving pilot allows us to continue to improve our technology through real-world operations,” Uber said in a press release. “With its challenging roads and often varied weather, Pittsburgh provided a wide array of experiences. San Francisco comes with its own nuances including more bikes on the road, high traffic density and narrow lanes.”

The ride-hailing firm said it doesn’t believe it needs a permit to launch self-driving Ubers in San Francisco, because those rules only apply to cars that can drive without someone controlling or monitoring them.“Several cities and states have recognized that complex rules and requirements could have the unintended consequence of slowing innovation,” Uber said. “Our hope is that California, our home state and a leader in much of the world’s dynamism, will take a similar view.”

Uber’s public testing is a major development in the self-driving car market: The company became the first to put passengers in its test vehicles.

Google, which has been a leader in the space, has tested its driverless cars on nearly 2 million miles of road by putting its own employees on board.

The tech giant announced Tuesday that it is spinning off its self-driving car program into an independent unit called “Waymo.”

Meanwhile, Lyft is partnering with General Motors to launch autonomous vehicles and intends to have the majority of the company’s rides delivered through a network of self-driving vehicles within five years.

 

Source: Will County News

Governor Rauner REFORM MESSAGE

GOV. RAUNER USES SOCIAL MEDIA TO PUSH REFORM MESSAGE

This week, Gov. Rauner used Facebook live to take his reform message directly to the people, outlining his plan to bring back Illinois through term limits, a property tax freeze, and reforms to grow our economy and increase high-paying jobs in the state. Gov. Rauner encouraged legislative leaders to put forward their preferred budget plan if they are serious about negotiating a budget and reform deal.

Gov. Rauner also continued his push for two bipartisan reforms – term limits and a property tax freeze. Watch Gov. Rauner’s message on term limits here, and his call for a property tax freeze herehttps://www.facebook.com/GovRauner/videos/587656981440762/


RAUNER WORKS TO REFORM CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM WITH FOCUS ON MENTAL HEALTH

Gov. Rauner has made reforming Illinois’ broken criminal justice system a top priority. This week, in collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Gov. Rauner announced that the Illinois Department of Corrections has trained nearly 13,000 corrections employees on mental health issues in less than a year.
Gov. Rauner stated, “Criminal justice reform has been a top priority of our administration from the very beginning, which is why the progress we’ve seen at the Department of Corrections is so encouraging. Through the hard work and dedication of Department of Corrections staff, we are closer every day to reaching our goal of safely reducing Illinois’ prison population by 25 percent before 2025.”
Gov. Rauner also signed bipartisan legislation ensuring offenders released from prison have a valid state ID upon release, easing the transition back into the labor force. Read more here.

RAUNER CLOSES CLEMENCY BACKLOG DATING BACK TO BLAGOJEVICH

Gov. Rauner this week also announced that his administration has closed a massive backlog of clemency requests, dating back to the Blagojevich administration. The Chicago Sun-Times reported, “Clearing the backlog was one of Rauner’s many priorities in his criminal justice reform platform. He has signed 14 criminal justice bills since he took office and says he wants to focus on rehabilitation and preventing recidivism.”


EFFORTS TO CUT RED TAPE HIGHLIGHTED BY NATIONAL REVIEW

The National Review highlighted Gov. Rauner’s initiative to cut job-killing regulations that stifle small businesses. In October, Gov. Rauner created the Illinois Competitiveness Council and tasked the group to come up with ways to repeal burdensome regulations and red tape by 25% over the next two years. Read more here.

Source: Will County News