Wind Energy’s Viability Trumpeted In Volatile Market

English: Taken by Neutronic

English: Taken by Neutronic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania’s 700 commercial wind turbines loom large along ridges, but their number and size belie their contribution to electricity generation.

Despite government subsidies, technological advancements that improved the turbines’ efficiency, and environmental advantages over burning fossil fuels, wind energy provided just 1.5 percent of the state’s electricity last year and less than 4 percent of the nation’s.

“In Pennsylvania it’s pretty anemic,” said Gregory Reed, a University of Pittsburgh professor who directs the Electric Power Initiative and is associate director of the school’s Center for Energy.

State law requires 18 percent of electricity must come from alternative fuel sources and renewables such as wind, solar and hydropower by 2021.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/5415886-74/wind-pennsylvania-energy#ixzz2w5Fb48vJ
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Update: More Than 35,000 In York County Still Without Power

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4:15 p.m. update: Met-Ed has restored power to about 1,000 additional customers in the last three hours, reducing the number of customers without power in York County to about 34,700.

Met-Ed has about 39,000 people without power across the state, an indication that York County is hardest hit among its service areas for power outages from Wednesday’s storm.

The company’s website indicates those outages are scattered throughout the county.

Met-Ed has brought in crews from out of state and has said power should be restored to 99 percent of customers by Saturday night.

Read more:  http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_25072774/43-000-york-county-remain-dark

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Obama Declares Lancaster County An Emergency Area: What It Means

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With thousands still without power, President Barack Obama on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Lancaster and six other Pennsylvania counties.

The declaration allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to bring resources to the clean-up efforts.

While local officials were still unclear about the extent of federal aid on Thursday afternoon, a FEMA spokesman said the first tangible result will likely come to the county in the form of gas-powered generators.

Peter Herrick, of Philadelphia-based FEMA Region III, said federal emergency management officials were talking to their counterparts at the state level to determine what equipment is needed.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/obama-declares-lancaster-county-an-emergency-area-what-it-means/article_851cb56a-8f60-11e3-8d16-0017a43b2370.html

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Storm Topples Trees Throughout Berks, Causing Power Outages

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The heaviest precipitation that will hit Berks County today is over, but the storm has toppled numerous trees in the area, blocking roadways and causing power outages.

Nearly 9,000 customers are without power in the Met-Ed and PPL service areas in Berks.

As of 10 a.m., Met-Ed reported there were 5,500 outages in Reading and eastern and northern Berks, while PPL reported 3,200 customers were without power in Wyomissing, western Berks and the Morgantown area in southern Berks.

PPL reported 60,679 of its customers in a 16-county area of the state were affected by outages, while Met-Ed’s parent company, FirstEnergy, said there were 78,000 Pennsylvania customers affected.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/news/article/storm-topples-trees-throughout-berks-causing-power-outages#.UvKMBWOPKM8

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Snowstorm Leads To Closures, Traffic Accidents Throughout Berks

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That darn groundhog.

Within 24 hours of forecasting six more weeks of winter, large dense snowflakes began falling in Berks County early Monday, and the storm continued to drop about an inch an hour before tapering off to flurries about 2:30 p.m.

Blame Phil if you were stuck in traffic behind one of the numerous crashes that occurred through the day or lost power from outages, but remember he wasn’t the only messenger.

Forecasters at AccuWeather, near State college, predicted this storm would bring wet, heavy snow that would affect the morning commute, and did it ever. By 11 a.m., with temperatures hovering around 32 degrees, at least a half a foot of snow had fallen in Berks County.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/news/article/snowstorm-leads-to-closures-traffic-accidents-throughout-berks#.UvA5BvRDsxI

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PPL To Raise Rates 6.7%

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consumers who’ve stayed with PPL Electric Utilities these past three-plus years might be getting second thoughts.

PPL is raising its residential rate by 6.7 percent effective Sept. 1, the company announced Friday.

The upturn marks the second consecutive quarterly increase for the utility and PPL’s highest price in two years.

As the rate climbs to 8.777 cents per kilowatt-hour from 8.227 cents, it will add about $5 to the monthly bill of the consumer using 1,000 kwh.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/886672_PPL-to-raise-rates-6-7-.html#ixzz2cu0Ptv1S

Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Region Cleans Up After Deluge

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Heavy rain closed roads, jammed storm drains and pushed the Lackawanna River above flood stage Friday morning to the highest level it has reached since recording began at Scranton’s Parker Street Bridge in 2009.

AccuWeather meteorologist Tom Kines said parts of Northeast Pennsylvania saw 2 inches of rain on average over a period of six to eight hours. Rainfall was heaviest between 7 and 11 p.m. Thursday, Mr. Kines said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Ted Champsey said water near the Parker Street Bridge crested at 9.46 feet at 5 a.m. Friday. By 4 p.m., the river had fallen to 5 feet – below the flood stage of 6 feet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/region-cleans-up-after-deluge-1.1513073

PPL To Add Distribution Improvement Charge To Bills

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PPL Utilities customers will soon see a new addition to their bills: a special charge aimed at financing speedier improvements to the Allentown-based utility’s electricity distribution system.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approved the new fee, which can be added to bills starting in July. Proceeds can be used to “recover reasonable and prudent costs incurred to repair, improve or replace certain eligible distribution property that is part of a utility’s distribution system.”

The commission approved PPL’s five-year accelerated infrastructure replacement plan in January.  The plan includes more than $135 million in system improvements and reliability upgrades this year, and a total of $700 million between now and 2017.

Customers’ bills are expected to increase by about 0.44 percent, or 20 cents on the bill of a typical residential customer with 1,000 kilowatt-hours of monthly usage.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-ppl-distribution-charge-20130523,0,881996.story

Another Power Outage Hits Downtown Lancaster

Griest BuildingAnother power outage affected much of downtown Lancaster city and parts of southern Manheim Township Monday morning.

More than 10,000 residents and businesses lost power for a short time starting at 8:49 a.m., PPL spokesman John Levitski said.

“The Prince Street substation went out again,” said Levitski.  “We are trying to determine what the issues are down there.

“We’re going to try to dig into this a little deeper to discover what’s going on,” he said.  “Then we can determine if (the outages) are linked or not.”

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/838220_Another-power-outage-hits-downtown-Lancaster.html#ixzz2QYRqttCj

PPL Plans To Cut Rates For Electricity

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state Public Utility Commission really wants electric users to switch from their utility to one of the dozens of alternative suppliers.

But PPL Electric Utilities inadvertently keeps giving electric users more motivation to stick with them.

PPL will cut its residential rate by 4.1 percent Friday, reflecting the cheaper prices it’s paying to obtain power on the wholesale market.

This latest change, announced Tuesday, is the third consecutive quarterly rate reduction for PPL.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/819772_PPL-plans-to-cut-rates-for-electricity.html#ixzz2MEX5j5I5

PPL To Seek Fee To Help Pay For Upgrades

PPL Electric Utilities is planning $705 million in improvements to its infrastructure over the next five years and is turning to its customers to help pay the bill.

PPL spokesman Bryan Hay said the company plans to file a petition this week with the state Public Utility Commission asking for a new fee that would help fund improvements to the company’s distribution system.

Hay did not provide specifics about the new charge, but said details would be released this week.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=443503

PPL Customers Will See About 4 Percent Increase In Bill

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Customers of PPL Electric Utilities will see monthly bills increase by about 4 percent next year, resulting from recent state Public Utility Commission action.

The PUC on Dec. 5 granted Allentown-based PPL a 10.4 percent rate of return on income for shareholders.  The approval will increase the average bill for residential customers using 1,000 kilowatts of electricity monthly by about $4.77 to $116.37, according to a PUC estimate.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/ppl-customers-will-see-about-4-percent-increase-in-bill-1.1415026

PPL Eyes New Round Of Energy Initiatives

Got an old fridge to get rid of? PPL Electric Utilities still will take it, pay you and recycle it.

Want new discount-price CFL bulbs?  PPL still will sell them to you.

Hope to get paid for trimming your air-conditioning use next summer?  Sorry, those days are gone.

PPL on Friday asked for state approval of its second generation of “E-power” energy-efficiency initiatives.

The 18 measures, subject to the state Public Utility Commission‘s action, are a mix of first-generation carryovers and newcomers.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/779340_PPL-eyes-new-round-of-energy-initiatives.html#ixzz2CV52XGJS

PA-NY-NJ Picking Up After Hurricane Sandy’s Epic Devastation

The sodden, wind-blown tri-state region of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania began an arduous journey back to normal on Wednesday after mammoth storm Sandy killed at least 82 people in a rampage that swamped coastal cities and cut power to millions across the Northeast.

Financial markets reopened with the New York Stock Exchange running on generator power after the first weather-related two-day closure since an 1888 blizzard. Packed buses took commuters to work with New York’s subway system idle after seawater flooded its tunnels.

The U. S. Navy said it was moving ships closer to areas affected by the disaster in case they might be needed, including the helicopter carrier USS Wasp.

Sandy killed 69 people in the Caribbean as a hurricane before crashing ashore just south of Atlantic City, N.J. Monday night as Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy, which became a rare hybrid superstorm after merging with another weather system to deliver 80 mile-per-hour winds and record storm surges.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-ny-nj-hurricane-sandy-update-1101-20121101,0,5611775,full.story

One Dead, Thousands Without Power; Roads Remain Closed In NEPA

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8-year-old Susquehanna County boy died Monday when wind from superstorm Sandy knocked a tree limb onto him north of Montrose, authorities said.

And while widespread power outages have left nearly 150,000 in the dark, Northeast Pennsylvania, for the most part, escaped the devastation Sandy left in many other areas.

“We can report back that everything is in really good shape,” Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien said at a 6 a.m. briefing.

In Lackawanna County, eleven 911 dispatchers and two supervisors handled 1,313 calls from 3 p.m. Monday through 6 this morning, with downed power lines being the main source of problems.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/one-dead-thousands-without-power-roads-remain-closed-1.1395736

Sandy’s Lehigh Valley Impact: Two Deaths, Power Outages, Damaged Trees, Closed Roads

Hurricane Sandy left about 400,000 homes and businesses in the Lehigh Valley and Poconos regions in the dark and without as many trees and has been blamed for the death of a 17-year-old Wind Gap boy and a Berks County man.

Robert Mills of 81 Eighth St. died in Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest after crashing an all-terrain-vehicle into a fallen tree about 9:30 p.m. Monday in Plainfield Township, Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim reported. Grim said Mills was thrown off the ATV when he drove into the tree which had fallen on W. Center Street near Route 33, and he suffered fatal head injuries.

A fallen tree also caused the death of a 62-year-old Berks County man Monday night.  The Berks County coroner’s office said Gerald Witman was killed when a tree fell on his home in Pike Township near Boyertown,

Local officials did not report any significant damage to buildings or public structures except for three house fires Monday night in Buck County in the 1300 block of Old Bethlehem Pike near Quakertown and in Tinicum Township and Chalfont.  Though it was not immediately clear if they were linked to the storm, an emergency radio dispatcher said no injuries were reported in the fires.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-superstorm-sandy-allentown-lehigh-valley-storm–20121030,0,2995804.story

Berks County Likely To Be Among Hardest-Hit Inland Areas

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

High winds and heavy rains leading to power outages and flooding are expected to slam Berks County today as residents endure the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy.

Berks will likely be among the hardest-hit inland areas, and officials urged residents to prepare for the worst.

“This storm has not been overhyped,” Berks County Commissioner Christian Y. Leinbach said today.  “It will have significant impact.”

Leinbach said residents should have up to three days of food and supplies should there be widespread power outages.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=423954

Rain Falling Harder In Lancaster County; First Power Outage Reported

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Roads are empty.

Schools are dark.

The mall is closed.

Emergency workers are at their posts.

Skies darkened and rain began falling hard as the county hunkered down, waiting for Hurricane Sandy to howl through here with its full power later today.

“Get out now,” said Mayor Rick Gray,  urging residents to evacuate in flood-prone areas of the city.  “If it doesn’t flood, thank God.  If it does flood, you’re safe.  We don’t want to be in a position to put our police officers and our firefighters in harm’s way because you didn’t evacuate.”

The first significant power outage hit late this morning, when about 600 people lost their electricity in the Elizabeth Township area, after power lines were reported down along Route 322 there.

But for most of the county, the morning was the calm before the Frankenstorm as local residents, who had days to buy flashlight batteries, stock up on water and clean out their gutters, waited for the storm.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/766797_UPDATED–Rain-falling-harder-in-county–first-power-outage-reported–.html#ixzz2AhhYq6Ia

Sandy’s Impacts Already Being Felt In NEPA

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sandy is knocking on NEPA’s door, and those who can should keep that door shut.  While the rain and wind weren’t strong for the morning commute, they will be for the ride home.  Most area schools, and many other facilities, are closed.  Flights and bus runs are canceled and driving will get tricky as the outer bands of the megastorm known as Hurricane Sandy blow around NEPA.

The National Weather Service says today’s heavier rains will begin after 11 a.m.  The high will climb to near 57.  The north wind at 11 to 16 mph will increase to 25 to 31 mph in the afternoon.  New daytime precipitation amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch are possible.  The rain will continue tonight when the low dips to around 48.  It will be very windy, with a northeast blast of 25 to 31 mph, and gusts up to 46 mph.  New nighttime precipitation amounts of between thee quarters and an inch are possible.

Richard Beasley, regional spokesman for PPL Electric Utilities, said some consumers should be prepare for lengthy power outages.

“Even with the best of preparation, people are going to lose power,” Mr. Beasley said.  “We are not talking hours here.  In some cases, we may be talking days, depending on the weather.”

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/sandy-s-impacts-already-being-felt-in-nepa-1.1395476

Monster Storm Closing In On Lehigh Valley Region

Icon for a Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale Cate...

Icon for a Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale Category 1 hurricane. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After almost a week of ominous forecasts, the weather system born of a giant hurricane, a winter storm and an arctic air mass is upon us.  And it’s not going anywhere fast.

Across the Lehigh Valley, residents and government officials worked through the weekend to protect lives and property as Hurricane Sandy morphed into a gargantuan storm that will affect every part of the Northeast.

Although Sandy, which remained a Category 1 hurricane, was not expected to make landfall on the New Jersey coast until late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, the storm’s effects have been felt since Sunday evening.  Ahead of Sandy’s landfall, every school district in the Lehigh Valley canceled Monday’s classes.  Some colleges closed through Tuesday.

The worst of the weather will persist throughout the day Monday, with sustained winds from 35 to 45 mph and gusts up to 55 mph.  That will bring down tree limbs and small trees causing power outages and property damage.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-hurricane-sandy-impact-20121028,0,6460543.story