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CVPS, DPS agree on 2.3 percent rate increaseRUTLAND, Vt. (November 29, 2007) – Central Vermont Public Service (NYSE-CV) and the VermontDepartment of Public Service today agreed to a 2.3 percent rate increase to takeeffect with bills rendered in February. CVPS filed for a 4.46 percent rateincrease in May. The settlement must be approved by the Vermont Public ServiceBoard.”This settlement will provide CVPS with modest but adequate funds to improvecustomer service and reliability, while maintaining extremely competitive ratescompared to the rest of New England,” President Bob Young said. “Working withthe DPS, we were able to reduce our initial request while committing to makingsubstantial additional investments in tree trimming and system upgrades, whichwill benefit our customers.”Under the settlement, a residential customer using 500 kilowatt-hours per monthwould see an increase of $1.65, from $71.46 to $73.11 – still among the lowestin the Northeast.According to the Edison Electric Institute, many customers would pay far moreelsewhere in New England. Customers of Boston Edison and Connecticut Light andPower would pay over $100 for 500 kWh. An Nstar-Cambridge Electric customerwould pay more than $104, according to EEI.Young said internal cost controls and CVPS’s long-term power contracts withHydro-Quebec and Vermont Yankee have largely protected customers fromsignificant rate pressures facing many other utilities. While the number ofcustomers served by CVPS has increased from 143,500 in 1993 to 158,000 today,the number of employees has fallen from 750 employees in 1993 to 550 today.CVPS rates have increased only slightly in the past eight years, comprised ofjust a handful of small increases and decreases. The proposed rates would bejust 5.9 percent higher than rates in 1999. The Consumer Price Index has risen21 percent, while the CPI for energy has risen almost 85 percent between 1999and 2006.The rate settlement is intended to dovetail with a pending alternativeregulation plan filed by CVPS in August. The plan, which must be approved bythe PSB, includes mechanisms and incentives to encourage further cost controlsand efficiencies. In consultation with the DPS, CVPS plans to hire an outsideconsultant to conduct a business process review to determine where moreefficiencies might lie.”We want to keep rates as low as possible for our customers while providing themwith the kind of service, reliability and storm response they have come toexpect,” Young said. “This review and alternative regulation plan will help usdo that.”- 30 –
The US Department of Agriculture has lifted the floor price for dairy products, it was announced today. The decision comes two days after the Vermont senators and a coalition of more than two dozen senators from other dairy states met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The prices will rise from $1.13 per pound for block cheese to $1.31; barrel cheese, from $1.10/lb. to $1.28; nonfat dry milk powder, from $0.80/lb. to $0.92. This has the potential to increase the price paid to farmers for milk by $1.25 to $1.50 per hundredweight.The meeting and the multi-region coalition of senators were organized by Senator Leahy, the senior-most member of the Agriculture Committee, to seek a short-term hike in the price the federal government pays for milk and dairy products in the marketplace. Leahy and the coalition also followed through with an appeal to White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.Leahy said, Secretary Vilsack became our partner in getting this done, and we are grateful that dairy farmers have a true ally at USDA. Government dairy purchases are part of the overall safety net, but in this case we also want these purchases to be a catalyst to help stabilize the downward spiral in milk prices. Dairy farms in Vermont and across the nation are hurting, and this is the fastest and most direct short-term step that s available to stop the bleeding. We will continue to push for other relief but those steps will take longer.Senator Sanders said, I appreciate the secretary’s quick response to our request. This is a good start but much more needs to be done if Vermont dairy farmers are going to receive a fair price for their product. My office continues to look at all available options to raise milk prices for family-based dairy farms, including expanding the MILC program and investigating monopolistic practices in the dairy industry.Governor Douglas said, We are incredibly pleased that Secretary Vilsack has raised the dairy support prices. This is a first and important step to relieve some of the financial stress Vermont dairy farmers and dairy farmers across the nation are experiencing. I want to thank our Congressional Delegation for their work on this important issue.”Vermont Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee said, We have all been working hard to encourage USDA to raise dairy support prices to bring some immediate relief to dairy farmers. I want to commend our Congressional Delegation for acknowledging the severity of the crisis and working with Secretary Vilsack to make this happen quickly.Under the Dairy Product Price Support Program, the USDA serves as a buyer of last resort to help clear commodity dairy markets during periods of exceptionally low farm-level prices. A coalition of Northeast governors and agriculture officials, including Governor Douglas and Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee, have been working together to find ways to bring immediate help to dairy farmers. This is a very complex and difficult challenge for agriculture in Vermont. While we are going to continue to do all we can to support struggling farmers in this time of need, action at the federal level is necessary in order to achieve lasting solutions, said Governor Douglas. The progress made on these dairy issues is the culmination of more than six months of work between my office, the Agency of Agriculture led by Secretary Allbee and the entire Vermont Congressional Delegation, who have been working diligently to bring these issues to Washington on behalf of Vermont s dairy farmers.Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who also had urged the Administration to raise the dairy price floor, said, Secretary Vilsack s decision is good news for dairy farmers and good news for Vermont. While it s clear that this is a short-term remedy and not a long-term solution to the crisis facing the dairy industry, this much-needed support for family farmers will help them weather the storm. I applaud Secretary Vilsack s action and I look forward to continuing the fight for Vermont s dairy farmers.Source: Vermont congressional delegation. Governor Douglas’ office. July 31, 2009.# # # # #
There will be a limit of two visitors per patient, hospital wide, including the emergency department. Children under the age of 12 will not be allowed to visit. An exception will be made on the Women & Children s Unit. The healthy sibling of a new baby may visit and will be included in the two visitor limit. If any of the support people for new moms are ill with flu like symptoms they will be asked to return home. Visitors to pediatric patients will be restricted to only their parents or caregivers. Visitors to medical-surgical patients on the Women and Children s Unit are limited to only immediate family, two visitors per patient. If the patient does not have immediate family, close friends will be allowed to visit. Visitors with signs of influenza like illness will not be permitted to visit.Anyone visiting the Women & Children s Unit and the Davis Special Care Unit must wash their hands and wear a surgical mask. Alcohol hand sanitizer and masks will be made available. Visitors will also be expected to wash their hands when entering and exiting the patient s room.If there are extenuating circumstances, such as a dying loved one, visitors will be managed on a case by case basis.Anyone with fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat or body aches should not come to the hospital. If a visit is absolutely necessary then they must perform hand hygiene and wear a mask while in the hospital. They must also perform hand hygiene before and after entering the patient room. The masks should be removed when they leave the hospital. The visitor cannot go to any other area in the hospital and must exit the hospital as soon as the visit is over.Source: CVMC. 10.19.2009 Central Vermont Medical Center is revising their visitor policy starting Monday, October 19. These restrictions will remain in place throughout the H1N1 flu season. Guidelines will be revised as necessary to comply with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
By James Dwinell. Vermont Business Magazine. May 20, 2010 -When the widows and orphans of Vermont opened the annual report from their home town bank, they may have read something similar to the letter to shareholders of the Randolph National Bank, a $160,000,000 bank founded in 1875 and headquartered in that town. Chairman John Osha wrote, To help fund the massive losses and risks throughout the nation, the FDIC dramatically increased (our) deposit insurance premium ¦from $14,000 in 2008 to more than $330,000 in 2009. Given the interest rate environment and the difficult economy, we would have been reasonably pleased with our earnings if they were not significantly diminished by the FDIC assessment (and thereby reducing our earnings by 54 percent).To ensure that this was not an aberration, we called Mark Young, President of the First National Bank Orwell, a $40,000,000 bank founded in 1832.Young said, It was not a happy day. Vermont banks are prudent and are not in trouble. Our FDIC premium which had been $8,585 jumped to $70,038. Not just that, they took three more years of premiums from us, totaling $230,077.The most troubling part of this is that it was not necessary for the FDIC to take our money. The bank bailout legislation included a provision allowing the FDIC to borrow money from the United States Treasury to protect deposits up to the temporary new limit of $250,000.The Director of Public Affairs for the FDIC, Andrew Gray, defended its decision, saying, Yes, we could have borrowed the money from the United States Treasury, but we did not think that it was proper to rely on the taxpayers to protect the depositors. After analysis, we thought that the losses could be absorbed by the industry to meet our obligations.How bad is the situation? In 2005 and 2006 there were no bank failures, in 2007 there were three. Then came the financial crisis: 2008-25 failures, 2009-140 failures and so far this year, 72 failures.Why do banks fail? Gray said, We use the Camels rating system: capital, assets, management, earnings, liquidity, and sensitivity to risk. On a 1-5 system, banks with ratings in the 4-5 range are in trouble in many of those areas.Gray said, We asked the banks and they gave us the cash for the increased premium.Young said, The FDIC did not ask us, they notified us, and we did not give them the money, they just took the money out of our bank. In a slight of hand according to Gray, the FDIC allows the banks to continue to show the now-absent prepaid cash on their balance sheet until the year in which the expense is recognized.Steve Marsh, President of the Community National Bank, a $510,000,000 founded in 1851 and headquartered in Derby, said, Vermont banks have done really well in this environment. Though Vermonters are socially liberal, they are fiscally conservative. The FDIC special assessment was a good outcome which could have been much worse. The losses from failed banks were wholly funded without any government money. We did however reduce our dividend by 29 percent.Ken Gibbons, president of the $450,000,000 Union Bank, founded in 1891 and headquartered in Morrisville said, Yes, we too paid up, a total of $2,491,085, and this was the straw which caused us to lower our dividend 11 percent. While I do appreciate the FDIC s Chair Shelia Bair, and her work, my issue with this decision is that the community banks did not create the problem, yet it is the community banks which have to solve the problem. Congress is trying to address this problem retroactively by changing how the FDIC assesses banks. Because big banks raise most of their money through bonding and other devices, not deposits as do community banks, the new banking law has proposed that the FDIC assessment will include this money as well as deposits. Nonetheless, $45 billion (according to the FDIC) was taken from the community banks. My big gripe is that we had all that money taken from small towns all over the United States and we can no longer lend that money to our customers.David Carle, spokesman for Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), said the Senate indeed addressed the issue Gibbons mentioned. “On May 6, the Senate adopted the Tester Amendment by a vote of 98-0 (Leahy voted aye) to change the assessments to be based on a bank s liabilities essentially any insured deposits plus other borrowings by the bank. That would result in the biggest banks, which raise less of their capital from insured depositors, paying higher amounts into the insurance fund than they currently do. (Connecticut Democrat Senator Christopher Dodd) said this on the amendment: ‘The change will help to ease the burden of FDIC assessments on our community banks by requiring the largest banks in the country to shoulder a little more of the responsibility to rebuild and maintain a sound deposit insurance fund’.The United States Treasury did come to the aid of the nation’s reckless big banks with almost three quarters of a trillion of stabilization money, but when it came to the prudent community bank, they took $45 billion, and left a hole for those depending on those banks for dividends and small business loans. FROM THE AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION. September 29, 2009FDIC Proposes Banks Prepay Three Years of PremiumsThe FDIC Board this morning proposed a Deposit Insurance Fund restoration plan that requires banks to prepay, on Dec. 30, 2009, their estimated quarterly risk-based assessments for the fourth quarter of 2009 and for all of 2010, 2011 and 2012. Under the plan — which would apply to all banks except those with liquidity problems — banks would be assessed through 2010 according to the risk-based premium schedule adopted earlier this year. However, beginning Jan. 1, 2011, the base rate would increase by 3 basis points. (See chart below. Banks would prepay the base rate only and would true up their premiums each quarter.)The proposal is expected to provide FDIC with $45 billion in cash that the agency needs to resolve the increasing number of bank failures, which are expected to cost $100 billion between 2009 and 2013. It does so without hitting bank earnings as hard as a second special assessment would since prepaying allows banks to keep the premiums on their books as an asset until the payments are booked by the FDIC on a quarterly basis.ABA has worked with the FDIC for several months to suggest realistic alternatives to another special assessment, which FDIC agreed would put too much burden on bank earnings. FDIC also agreed prepayment was preferable to tapping the agency s Treasury line of credit. In choosing this path, it should be clear to the public that the industry will not simply tap the shoulder of the increasingly weary taxpayer, said FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair. This proposal is a vote of confidence for the banking industry’s resilience and will continue to recover its strength as we work through the significant challenges ahead.”ABA echoed FDIC s concerns. The proposal ¦ reinforces the fact that it is the banking industry that is fully responsible for the financial security of the agency, ABA Chief Economist Jim Chessen said. At this critical time, when the economy is just beginning its recovery, looking to options that are less pro-cyclical and that spread the cost over time is the right policy.A bank would be permitted to transfer any portion of its prepaid assessment to another institution, after filing notification requirements. The plan also extends the DIF restoration period from seven to eight years. A 30-day comment period will follow the proposal s publication in the Federal Register. Read more. Read the FDIC memo outlining the plan.
Senate leaders have appointed U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) as one of the 12 Senate conferees who will negotiate the final form of the landmark financial reform legislation that now has passed the Senate and the House in different forms. The conferees will meet in June.The Senate conferees seven Democratic senators and five Republican senators are senior members on either the Banking or Agriculture Committees. From the Agriculture Committee, Leahy — the panel s most senior member of either party — joins Democratic conferees Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), the committee s current chair; Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa); and Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). The Banking Committee s delegation on the conference is led by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the panel s chairman, joined by Democrats Tim Johnson (S.D.), Jack Reed (R.I.), and Charles Schumer (N.Y.), and Republicans Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.).A key issue to be resolved by the conferees is oversight and regulation of financial derivatives investment contracts that are not based on actual assets or commodities, but which instead derive their value from market indexes such as foreign exchange rates or from traditional securities like stocks, or even insurance policies. Trading in derivatives, using increasingly complicated formulas, has exploded on Wall Street, reaching into the trillions of dollars, and playing a central role in the near-collapse of the economy in 2008. Leahy voted for the Senate Agriculture Committee s plan, sponsored by the panel s chair, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), to begin regulating derivatives, and especially their use by the banks that businesses and consumers rely on for the security of their savings and investments. The reforms include a narrow end-user exemption to allow legitimate commercial interests, such as electric cooperatives and heating oil dealers, to continue hedging their business risks.Leahy said the derivatives reforms in the Senate bill would finally bring the $600 trillion derivatives market out of the dark and into the light of day, ending the days of backroom deals that put our entire economy at risk. He said the bill will stop Wall Street traders from artificially driving up prices of heating oil, gasoline, diesel fuel and other commodities through unchecked speculation. If this crisis has taught us anything, it is that the look-the-other way, hands-off deregulatory policies that were in vogue in recent times can jeopardize not only private investments, but our entire economy.Another provision that is expected to draw special interest opposition in conference is an amendment that Leahy supported to protect small businesses from complicated predatory rules that big credit card companies impose on grocers and other commercial outlets in Vermont and other states. The Durbin Amendment would ensure that a small business would be able to advertise a discount for paying cash, or for using one card instead of another. I do not want Vermonters to pay more for a gallon of milk just because the big credit card companies are demanding a high fee on small transactions and are not allowing the grocer to ask for cash instead of credit, said Leahy.Source: Leahy’s office. WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, May 27, 2010)# # # # #
The Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration is warning Vermonters to watch out for fraudulent companies and individuals claiming to be health insurers or agents of health insurers who take the money of unwary consumers but do not pay claims.‘We have received complaints from people here in Vermont and uncovered twenty-five apparently related companies and individuals, operating here and in other states or overseas, who offer health insurance coverage but don’t step up when it’s time to pay a claim,’ said Commissioner Stephen Kimbell. ‘We are taking steps to stop them,’ he said, but warned consumers to be vigilant. ‘These policies are often sold through professional-looking websites claiming that a person just has to join a certain association to get insured,’ said Kimbell. ‘I urge everyone to do research before buying insurance from an unknown company, especially one that advertises only on the internet or by unsolicited e-mails or faxes. If you’re in doubt, call us.’The Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration (BISHCA) hasissued an order requiring the cited companies and individuals to stop selling insurance in Vermont. A list of cited companies and individuals is included in this release and is available at the BISHCA website under ‘press releases’ and ‘orders.’List of Companies Named in the Cease and Desist Order:Companies that sold illegal insurance to Vermont residentsUNITED STATE CONTRACTORS TRUSTMETROPOLITAN BUSINESS ALLIANCE, LLC d/b/a NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OFBUSINESS LEADERSHIPCEO CLUBS, INC.Other CompaniesAMERICAN TRADE ASSOCIATION, LTD a/k/a ATAREAL BENEFITS ASSOCIATION a/k/a RBASERVE AMERICA ASSURANCE, LTDWORLDWIDE FAMILY BENEFITS ASSOCIATION, INC.INTEGRATED INSURANCE MARKETING, INC d/b/a AIM HEALTH PLANS, INC.BEEMA-PAKISTAN COMPANY LIMITED d/b/a BEEMA INSURANCE COMPANY d/b/aBEEMA INSURANCE COMPANY-PAKISTAN d/b/a BEEMA-PAKISTAN, LTDHUDSON VALLEY CONSULTANTS, LLC d/b/a CEO CLUBS BENEFITSREAL BENEFITS ASSOCIATION, LLCSOUTHEAST INSURANCE ADVISORS, LLCINSURANCE RESOURCE GROUPWILSHARE HOLDING, LLCVIKING ADMINISTRATORS, LLCASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT MANAGERSSTAR GROUP/PHOENIX INSURANCE COMPANYUNITED STATES CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATIONVENTURE SUPPORT GROUP, LLCAMERICANS FOR AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE, INCSPENCER & ASSOCIATES, LLCPINNACLE HEALTH SOLUTIONSSMART DATA SOLUTIONS, LLCIndividualsWILLIAM M. WORTHY, IICOLIN JACK YOUELLMIRZA SHAHNAWAZ AGHAMIRZA ZAHEER “ZEKE” AGHASAIFUDDIN AHMEDCHRISTOPHER ASHIOTESRICHARD H. BACHMANJOE BENEDETTOKATHLEEN D. CAUTHENWALTER R. CECCHINI JR.DAVID L. CLARKLOUIS DELUCAJAMES M. DOYLEKEVIN R. DUNNRICHARD DUNNGARY L. KARNS, JR.ARNOLD H. KATZLINDA KIRKPATRICKOBED KIRKPATRICKJASON WINGROVEJOHN MILLERJOSEPH MANCUSODAVID L. NELLSON a/k/a DAVIS L. NELLSON a/k/a DAVID NELSONPAUL OLZESKIANGIE POSEYBART S. POSEY SR.DAVID BRIAN RUTSTEINMICHAEL SCHULTZTHOMAS J. SULLIVANPETER WALSH