Tri-County EMC sets a new record as a flurry of low temperatures plague Middle Georgia in January.
The energy company said its members on January 7 set a new system peak of 126.8 megawatts breaking the 2011 record of 115. 6 set on January 14.
“We set a record peak during the polar vortex that came earlier January and then coupled with the snow the past two days we’ve definitely seen an increase in energy usage,” Tri-County EMC Communications Specialist Kim Bonner said.
Georgia Power expects its numbers are high as well. Many people are turning the heat up to stay warm. Luckily, the companies aren’t shutting off the heat if it becomes difficult to pay.
“If we know that the temperatures are going to be below freezing we don’t disconnect customers but we do encourage them to please call us so we can make payment arrangements,” Georgia Power Region External Affairs Manager Theresa Robinson said.
“We do our best to work with our members when they do have trouble paying their bills and there are a couple different resources in the community that we can refer them too,” Bonner said.
File under: Unintended Consequnces
ATLANTA — A tall man wearing a green baseball cap recently entered a CVS pharmacy in Oakwood, intent on robbery.
The man was not looking for cash. Instead, according to police, he demanded that the pharmacist give him Lortab and Percocet painkillers.
He then grabbed drug bottles and prescription bags belonging to customers before fleeing the store, police said.
The same man is being sought in a similar robbery at a Flowery Branch pharmacy.
Pharmacy officials say such robberies are occurring with greater frequency in Georgia. Ironically, the officials link the increase to the state’s recent success in cracking down on the scourge of “pill mills’’ in the state.
Pill mills are clinics or doctor’s offices that prescribe oxycodone and other powerful narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose. Their customers are often addicts or even drug dealers.
ATLANTA — Georgians spread the blame widely among state and local officials and agencies for the traffic problems developing during Tuesday’s snow storm, according to a survey released Thursday.
When the InsiderAdvantage/Morris News Poll asked who to blame, the biggest group, 28 percent, cited their “mayor or county officials.”
Next came the Georgia Department of Transportation with 20 percent, followed by Gov. Nathan Deal at 15 percent. Because the online poll was conducted statewide by OpinionSavvy, individual mayors weren’t listed by name.
Just 12 percent said weather forecasters had fallen down on the job.
The Wednesday survey also asked the 434 Georgians chosen randomly to assess their approval of the governor’s handling of state response, just 34 percent approved while 41 percent disapproved. That left 12 percent with no opinion and a 4.6 percent margin of error.
The propane is gone at Jennifer Harris’ home, and she doesn’t know when she’ll get more.
She’d been without the fuel about two weeks when she visited her local propane business on Tuesday.
They quoted her a price almost double what she regularly pays.
Now she’s boiling water on the electric stove in her Silver Creek home and sending her children to a friend’s house for showers.
“I’ve been trying to call family and see if they can help,” Harris said. “It’s a challenge not having propane.”
Jason Shedd in Armuchee has a different problem. He’s ready to buy propane for his elderly parents but can’t get anyone to service their home. They’ve been without propane for five days.
After Georgia Representative Jay Neal announced his mid-term resignation in early November, candidates scrambled to assemble campaigns in a short timeframe. The limited time between Rep. Neal’s decision and the special election intimidated many from joining a wide-open race that would normally have attracted a half-dozen or more candidates.
When qualification ended, only three men signed up as potential replacements for Rep. Neal: Chickamaugan Steve Tarvin, Rock Spring resident Doug Woodruff, and outgoing LaFayette Mayor Neal Florence. Tarvin and Woodruff’s decisions to join the race weren’t surprising – both had shown previous interest in state/regional politics and had existing campaign structures from failed runs in 2012. Florence, however, had shown no prior interest in an office higher than mayor, hadn’t run for anything since 2009, and had no campaign organization or signs left over from previous efforts.
All three have done a good job in short time making voters aware of their campaigns and motivating supporters to contribute, but some of their positions on issues that matter haven’t been made clear. That’s the purpose of this Q&A – clarifying issues so voters can go to the polls Tuesday armed with enough knowledge to make an informed vote.
Each candidate was contacted on December 28th, with a deadline to respond set for 11:59 PM January 2nd. They were contacted with e-mail addresses known to work, but only two of the three – Florence and Woodruff – responded by deadline. As of 4 AM on Monday January 6th, Candidate Tarvin has still not responded to (or acknowledged receiving) these questions. Sadly, his positions will be left to speculation and previous reports. He DID reply to a Q&A in 2012, which can fill in some of the blanks.
Whitfield County Board of Commissioners member Gordon Morehouse says he will not seek re-election this year. He will leave office at the end of the year.
“There is a chance that because of a family situation I might not be living in my district for four years,” Morehouse said. “I didn’t think it was fair to take on that commitment with that possibility out there.”
Morehouse represents District 1, which is basically the southeast part of Whitfield County.
Morehouse said he wanted to let the public and any potential candidates know he will not be running again because the primaries this year will be two months earlier than in the past.
Typically, Georgia has held its primaries in July, but a federal judge moved primaries for congressional races to May 20, and the General Assembly earlier this month moved primaries for state and local races to May 20 as well. Qualifying will take place March 3 to March 7.
Morehouse, a Republican, was first elected four years ago, facing no opposition in either the primary or general election.
WASHINGTON — Consumers will spend more. Government will cut less. Businesses will invest more. And more companies will hire.
Add it all up, and you can see why expectations are rising that 2014 will be the best year for the U.S. economy since the recession ended 4 1/2 years ago. That’s why the Federal Reserve is pressing ahead with a plan to scale back its economic stimulus.
The optimists got a boost Thursday from a government report that showed consumers fueled solid economic growth in the final quarter of 2013. The report lifted hopes that the economy will be able to withstand turmoil in emerging economies, a pullback in the Fed’s stimulus and mounting risks to the U.S. stock market over the next 12 months.
CAMBRIDGE, Md. — House Republicans wrestled inconclusively with the outlines of immigration legislation Thursday night, sharply divided over the contentious issue itself and the political wisdom of acting on it in an election year.
At a three-day retreat on the frozen banks of the Choptank River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, GOP leaders circulated an outline that would guide the drafting of any House Republican legislation on the subject — a document that Speaker John Boehner told the rank and file was as far as the party was willing to go.
It includes a proposed pathway to legal status for millions of adults who live in the U.S. unlawfully — after they pay back taxes and fines — but not the special route to citizenship that President Barack Obama and many Democrats favor.
After years of negotiations, the owners of Plant Vogtle have filed documents with the U.S. Department of Energy to finalize a $8.3 billion loan guarantee to help finance two new nuclear reactors.
“There remain a series of steps that must be taken prior to closing,” Southern Co. spokesman Tim Leljedal said in an e-mail. “While we can’t disclose final terms, we do believe that our earlier estimate of approximately $200 million of present-value benefits is still representative of the loan’s value to our customers.”
Today marks the deadline for the fifth extension offered to Southern Co. to continue discussions for terms of the federal loan guarantee first offered in 2010. Leljedal said DOE extended the deadline again until the end of February.
Vogtle units 3 and 4 are the first new reactors built in the U.S. in three decades. The new Westinghouse AP-1000 reactors under construction at the Burke County site are scheduled to go online in 2017 and 2018.
“We are highly encouraged by recent progress in our loan guarantee with the Department of Energy. The details of the negotiations are confidential,” Leljedal said.
The government’s $8.3 billion offer included up to $3.46 billion for Georgia Power, which owns a 45.7 percent stake in the Vogtle project; up to $3.05 billion for Oglethorpe, which owns 30 percent; and up to $1.8 billion for MEAG, which owns 22.7 percent. The project’s remaining 1.6 percent is owned by Dalton Utilities.
Loan guarantees, in which the government promises to assume a company’s debt if the company defaults, were developed as an incentive for new nuclear construction.
Making his final “State of the City” address Thursday, Mayor Deke Copenhaver outlined a legacy of creating jobs, building buildings, uniting the community and having an occasional regret.
Copenhaver, giving the speech at a meeting of the Augusta Exchange Club, is completing his second full term and is ineligible to run again this year. He has no immediate plans to seek another elected office, he said.
“I get so frustrated because it’s so hyper-partisan now,” he said. “I’m somebody that focuses on the common ground, and to go any further would drive me crazy.”
Copenhaver said his greatest accomplishments were uniting the community in prayer, recently holding his “98th straight” prayer breakfast, and constructing, with the help of former Administrator Fred Russell, a new library, convention center, sheriff’s administration building and courthouse.