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Hong Kong, Singapore travel bubble delayed by COVID-19 surge – Al Jazeera English

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/22/hong-kong-singapore-travel-bubble-delayed-by-covid-19-surge

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Air travel bubble postponed for at least two weeks after Hong Kong reports 43 new coronavirus cases on Saturday.

A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore, originally slated to begin on Sunday, has been postponed amid a spike in infections in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

The air travel bubble, meant to boost tourism for both cities, will be delayed by at least two weeks, Hong Kong’s minister of commerce and economic development, Edward Yau, said at a news conference on Saturday.

The arrangement is meant to allow travellers between the two cities to enter without quarantine as long as they complete coronavirus tests before and after arriving at their destinations and fly on designated flights.

Hong Kong reported 43 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, including 13 untraceable local infections.

“For any scheme to be successful, they must fulfil the condition of securing public health and also make sure that both sides would be comfortable and feel safe about the scheme,” Yau said.

“In light of the situation in Hong Kong, I think it’s the responsible way to put this back for a while, and then sort of relaunch it at a suitable juncture.”

The plan will be revisited in December, he added.

Under the initial agreement, the travel bubble was to be suspended if the number of untraceable local infections in either Singapore or Hong Kong exceeded five on a seven-day moving average. The current average in Hong Kong is nearly four, prompting Yau and Singapore’s Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung to postpone the inaugural flight.

On Friday, Hong Kong’s top health official said that the city had “probably entered” a new wave of cases. Recent clusters have spanned taxi drivers, a dance studio and hotels.

Hong Kong has confirmed a total of 5,561 cases, including 108 deaths. Singapore has reported 58,148 cases, but only 28 fatalities.

Prior to the postponement, Singapore said on Saturday morning that travellers arriving from Hong Kong via the bubble would be required to take a coronavirus test on arrival. Originally, only people landing in Hong Kong were to be required to be tested.

Ong said in a Facebook post that the postponement is a “sober reminder that the COVID-19 virus is still with us”.

“I can fully understand the disappointment and frustration of travellers who have planned their trips. But we think it is better to defer from a public health standpoint,” he wrote.

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PG&E rate hike aimed at improvements to ease fire risk – KCRA Sacramento

https://www.kcra.com/article/pgande-rate-hike-aimed-improvements-to-ease-fire-risk/34868014

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Pacific Gas & Electric’s household customers will be hit with an average rate increase of 8% to help the once-bankrupt utility pay for improvements designed to reduce the risks that its outdated equipment will ignite deadly wildfires in its Northern California service territory.The higher prices, approved Thursday, take effect March 1 and are expected to boost the bills of PG&E’s residential customers by an average of $13.44 a month. That may further strain the budgets of people struggling to make ends meet during a recession caused by the pandemic that is causing governments to curtail commerce and corral people at home in an effort to ease the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.California power regulators approved the increase after two years of wrangling between PG&E and a variety of groups battling to limit how much of the financial burden customers should have to shoulder for the utility’s long-running neglect of a grid that supplies power to about 16 million people in a sprawling area.PG&E’s outdated equipment was blamed for causing a series of wildfires during 2017 and 2018 that killed more than 120 people and destroyed more than 27,000 homes and other buildings. The damage caused PG&E to file for bankruptcy in 2019, opening a legal avenue for the company to negotiate $25.5 billion in settlements with wildfire victims and others.The San Francisco utility emerged from bankruptcy five months ago and is now seeking to upgrade its equipment and adopt other safety measures to avoid facing financial calamity — and a public relations catastrophe — again.Under the agreement approved by California regulators, PG&E can’t use any of its additional revenue to pay for its bankruptcy settlements or enrich an executive team that has been overhauled in recent years.But PG&E does plan to use the extra money to help finance grid improvements, additional tree trimming around power lines and take other steps that the company believes will reduce the chances of sparking more fires. The utility is also making changes aimed at decreasing the scope of deliberate blackouts imposed during dry and windy weather conditions that raise wildfire risks in Northern California.“We want to work to exceed our customers’ expectations when it comes to safely and reliably delivering clean energy, reducing wildfire risk in an ever-changing climate, and building a safe and sustainable energy system,” said Robert Kenney, PG&E’s vice president of regulatory and external affairs.The Utility Reform Network, one of the groups that hammered out the rate increase settlement with PG&E late last year, had hoped California regulators would delay approval because of the financial strain stemming from the pandemic.“Hitting consumers with higher bills right now will only add to their problems,” said Mark Toney, TURN’s executive director.The sticker shock of the forthcoming PG&E rate increases has been magnified by the time it took to negotiate them while the utility was still in bankruptcy. Part of the 2021 increases cover the past year, too.Customers might have been even harder hit if not for the resistance to PG&E’s initial plan. The utility originally sought about $2 billion in additional revenue from customer rate increases from 2020 to 2022, according to regulatory documents. The final settlement approved by regulators will instead give PG&E an additional $1.15 billion instead.

Pacific Gas & Electric’s household customers will be hit with an average rate increase of 8% to help the once-bankrupt utility pay for improvements designed to reduce the risks that its outdated equipment will ignite deadly wildfires in its Northern California service territory.

The higher prices, approved Thursday, take effect March 1 and are expected to boost the bills of PG&E’s residential customers by an average of $13.44 a month. That may further strain the budgets of people struggling to make ends meet during a recession caused by the pandemic that is causing governments to curtail commerce and corral people at home in an effort to ease the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

California power regulators approved the increase after two years of wrangling between PG&E and a variety of groups battling to limit how much of the financial burden customers should have to shoulder for the utility’s long-running neglect of a grid that supplies power to about 16 million people in a sprawling area.

PG&E’s outdated equipment was blamed for causing a series of wildfires during 2017 and 2018 that killed more than 120 people and destroyed more than 27,000 homes and other buildings. The damage caused PG&E to file for bankruptcy in 2019, opening a legal avenue for the company to negotiate $25.5 billion in settlements with wildfire victims and others.

The San Francisco utility emerged from bankruptcy five months ago and is now seeking to upgrade its equipment and adopt other safety measures to avoid facing financial calamity — and a public relations catastrophe — again.

Under the agreement approved by California regulators, PG&E can’t use any of its additional revenue to pay for its bankruptcy settlements or enrich an executive team that has been overhauled in recent years.

But PG&E does plan to use the extra money to help finance grid improvements, additional tree trimming around power lines and take other steps that the company believes will reduce the chances of sparking more fires. The utility is also making changes aimed at decreasing the scope of deliberate blackouts imposed during dry and windy weather conditions that raise wildfire risks in Northern California.

“We want to work to exceed our customers’ expectations when it comes to safely and reliably delivering clean energy, reducing wildfire risk in an ever-changing climate, and building a safe and sustainable energy system,” said Robert Kenney, PG&E’s vice president of regulatory and external affairs.

The Utility Reform Network, one of the groups that hammered out the rate increase settlement with PG&E late last year, had hoped California regulators would delay approval because of the financial strain stemming from the pandemic.

“Hitting consumers with higher bills right now will only add to their problems,” said Mark Toney, TURN’s executive director.

The sticker shock of the forthcoming PG&E rate increases has been magnified by the time it took to negotiate them while the utility was still in bankruptcy. Part of the 2021 increases cover the past year, too.

Customers might have been even harder hit if not for the resistance to PG&E’s initial plan. The utility originally sought about $2 billion in additional revenue from customer rate increases from 2020 to 2022, according to regulatory documents. The final settlement approved by regulators will instead give PG&E an additional $1.15 billion instead.

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PG&E rate hike aimed at improvements to ease fire risk – KCRA Sacramento

https://www.kcra.com/article/pgande-rate-hike-aimed-improvements-to-ease-fire-risk/34868014

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Pacific Gas & Electric’s household customers will be hit with an average rate increase of 8% to help the once-bankrupt utility pay for improvements designed to reduce the risks that its outdated equipment will ignite deadly wildfires in its Northern California service territory.The higher prices, approved Thursday, take effect March 1 and are expected to boost the bills of PG&E’s residential customers by an average of $13.44 a month. That may further strain the budgets of people struggling to make ends meet during a recession caused by the pandemic that is causing governments to curtail commerce and corral people at home in an effort to ease the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.California power regulators approved the increase after two years of wrangling between PG&E and a variety of groups battling to limit how much of the financial burden customers should have to shoulder for the utility’s long-running neglect of a grid that supplies power to about 16 million people in a sprawling area.PG&E’s outdated equipment was blamed for causing a series of wildfires during 2017 and 2018 that killed more than 120 people and destroyed more than 27,000 homes and other buildings. The damage caused PG&E to file for bankruptcy in 2019, opening a legal avenue for the company to negotiate $25.5 billion in settlements with wildfire victims and others.The San Francisco utility emerged from bankruptcy five months ago and is now seeking to upgrade its equipment and adopt other safety measures to avoid facing financial calamity — and a public relations catastrophe — again.Under the agreement approved by California regulators, PG&E can’t use any of its additional revenue to pay for its bankruptcy settlements or enrich an executive team that has been overhauled in recent years.But PG&E does plan to use the extra money to help finance grid improvements, additional tree trimming around power lines and take other steps that the company believes will reduce the chances of sparking more fires. The utility is also making changes aimed at decreasing the scope of deliberate blackouts imposed during dry and windy weather conditions that raise wildfire risks in Northern California.“We want to work to exceed our customers’ expectations when it comes to safely and reliably delivering clean energy, reducing wildfire risk in an ever-changing climate, and building a safe and sustainable energy system,” said Robert Kenney, PG&E’s vice president of regulatory and external affairs.The Utility Reform Network, one of the groups that hammered out the rate increase settlement with PG&E late last year, had hoped California regulators would delay approval because of the financial strain stemming from the pandemic.“Hitting consumers with higher bills right now will only add to their problems,” said Mark Toney, TURN’s executive director.The sticker shock of the forthcoming PG&E rate increases has been magnified by the time it took to negotiate them while the utility was still in bankruptcy. Part of the 2021 increases cover the past year, too.Customers might have been even harder hit if not for the resistance to PG&E’s initial plan. The utility originally sought about $2 billion in additional revenue from customer rate increases from 2020 to 2022, according to regulatory documents. The final settlement approved by regulators will instead give PG&E an additional $1.15 billion instead.

Pacific Gas & Electric’s household customers will be hit with an average rate increase of 8% to help the once-bankrupt utility pay for improvements designed to reduce the risks that its outdated equipment will ignite deadly wildfires in its Northern California service territory.

The higher prices, approved Thursday, take effect March 1 and are expected to boost the bills of PG&E’s residential customers by an average of $13.44 a month. That may further strain the budgets of people struggling to make ends meet during a recession caused by the pandemic that is causing governments to curtail commerce and corral people at home in an effort to ease the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

California power regulators approved the increase after two years of wrangling between PG&E and a variety of groups battling to limit how much of the financial burden customers should have to shoulder for the utility’s long-running neglect of a grid that supplies power to about 16 million people in a sprawling area.

PG&E’s outdated equipment was blamed for causing a series of wildfires during 2017 and 2018 that killed more than 120 people and destroyed more than 27,000 homes and other buildings. The damage caused PG&E to file for bankruptcy in 2019, opening a legal avenue for the company to negotiate $25.5 billion in settlements with wildfire victims and others.

The San Francisco utility emerged from bankruptcy five months ago and is now seeking to upgrade its equipment and adopt other safety measures to avoid facing financial calamity — and a public relations catastrophe — again.

Under the agreement approved by California regulators, PG&E can’t use any of its additional revenue to pay for its bankruptcy settlements or enrich an executive team that has been overhauled in recent years.

But PG&E does plan to use the extra money to help finance grid improvements, additional tree trimming around power lines and take other steps that the company believes will reduce the chances of sparking more fires. The utility is also making changes aimed at decreasing the scope of deliberate blackouts imposed during dry and windy weather conditions that raise wildfire risks in Northern California.

“We want to work to exceed our customers’ expectations when it comes to safely and reliably delivering clean energy, reducing wildfire risk in an ever-changing climate, and building a safe and sustainable energy system,” said Robert Kenney, PG&E’s vice president of regulatory and external affairs.

The Utility Reform Network, one of the groups that hammered out the rate increase settlement with PG&E late last year, had hoped California regulators would delay approval because of the financial strain stemming from the pandemic.

“Hitting consumers with higher bills right now will only add to their problems,” said Mark Toney, TURN’s executive director.

The sticker shock of the forthcoming PG&E rate increases has been magnified by the time it took to negotiate them while the utility was still in bankruptcy. Part of the 2021 increases cover the past year, too.

Customers might have been even harder hit if not for the resistance to PG&E’s initial plan. The utility originally sought about $2 billion in additional revenue from customer rate increases from 2020 to 2022, according to regulatory documents. The final settlement approved by regulators will instead give PG&E an additional $1.15 billion instead.

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PG&E rate hike aimed at improvements to ease fire risk – KCRA Sacramento

https://www.kcra.com/article/pgande-rate-hike-aimed-improvements-to-ease-fire-risk/34868014

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Pacific Gas & Electric’s household customers will be hit with an average rate increase of 8% to help the once-bankrupt utility pay for improvements designed to reduce the risks that its outdated equipment will ignite deadly wildfires in its Northern California service territory.The higher prices, approved Thursday, take effect March 1 and are expected to boost the bills of PG&E’s residential customers by an average of $13.44 a month. That may further strain the budgets of people struggling to make ends meet during a recession caused by the pandemic that is causing governments to curtail commerce and corral people at home in an effort to ease the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.California power regulators approved the increase after two years of wrangling between PG&E and a variety of groups battling to limit how much of the financial burden customers should have to shoulder for the utility’s long-running neglect of a grid that supplies power to about 16 million people in a sprawling area.PG&E’s outdated equipment was blamed for causing a series of wildfires during 2017 and 2018 that killed more than 120 people and destroyed more than 27,000 homes and other buildings. The damage caused PG&E to file for bankruptcy in 2019, opening a legal avenue for the company to negotiate $25.5 billion in settlements with wildfire victims and others.The San Francisco utility emerged from bankruptcy five months ago and is now seeking to upgrade its equipment and adopt other safety measures to avoid facing financial calamity — and a public relations catastrophe — again.Under the agreement approved by California regulators, PG&E can’t use any of its additional revenue to pay for its bankruptcy settlements or enrich an executive team that has been overhauled in recent years.But PG&E does plan to use the extra money to help finance grid improvements, additional tree trimming around power lines and take other steps that the company believes will reduce the chances of sparking more fires. The utility is also making changes aimed at decreasing the scope of deliberate blackouts imposed during dry and windy weather conditions that raise wildfire risks in Northern California.“We want to work to exceed our customers’ expectations when it comes to safely and reliably delivering clean energy, reducing wildfire risk in an ever-changing climate, and building a safe and sustainable energy system,” said Robert Kenney, PG&E’s vice president of regulatory and external affairs.The Utility Reform Network, one of the groups that hammered out the rate increase settlement with PG&E late last year, had hoped California regulators would delay approval because of the financial strain stemming from the pandemic.“Hitting consumers with higher bills right now will only add to their problems,” said Mark Toney, TURN’s executive director.The sticker shock of the forthcoming PG&E rate increases has been magnified by the time it took to negotiate them while the utility was still in bankruptcy. Part of the 2021 increases cover the past year, too.Customers might have been even harder hit if not for the resistance to PG&E’s initial plan. The utility originally sought about $2 billion in additional revenue from customer rate increases from 2020 to 2022, according to regulatory documents. The final settlement approved by regulators will instead give PG&E an additional $1.15 billion instead.

Pacific Gas & Electric’s household customers will be hit with an average rate increase of 8% to help the once-bankrupt utility pay for improvements designed to reduce the risks that its outdated equipment will ignite deadly wildfires in its Northern California service territory.

The higher prices, approved Thursday, take effect March 1 and are expected to boost the bills of PG&E’s residential customers by an average of $13.44 a month. That may further strain the budgets of people struggling to make ends meet during a recession caused by the pandemic that is causing governments to curtail commerce and corral people at home in an effort to ease the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

California power regulators approved the increase after two years of wrangling between PG&E and a variety of groups battling to limit how much of the financial burden customers should have to shoulder for the utility’s long-running neglect of a grid that supplies power to about 16 million people in a sprawling area.

PG&E’s outdated equipment was blamed for causing a series of wildfires during 2017 and 2018 that killed more than 120 people and destroyed more than 27,000 homes and other buildings. The damage caused PG&E to file for bankruptcy in 2019, opening a legal avenue for the company to negotiate $25.5 billion in settlements with wildfire victims and others.

The San Francisco utility emerged from bankruptcy five months ago and is now seeking to upgrade its equipment and adopt other safety measures to avoid facing financial calamity — and a public relations catastrophe — again.

Under the agreement approved by California regulators, PG&E can’t use any of its additional revenue to pay for its bankruptcy settlements or enrich an executive team that has been overhauled in recent years.

But PG&E does plan to use the extra money to help finance grid improvements, additional tree trimming around power lines and take other steps that the company believes will reduce the chances of sparking more fires. The utility is also making changes aimed at decreasing the scope of deliberate blackouts imposed during dry and windy weather conditions that raise wildfire risks in Northern California.

“We want to work to exceed our customers’ expectations when it comes to safely and reliably delivering clean energy, reducing wildfire risk in an ever-changing climate, and building a safe and sustainable energy system,” said Robert Kenney, PG&E’s vice president of regulatory and external affairs.

The Utility Reform Network, one of the groups that hammered out the rate increase settlement with PG&E late last year, had hoped California regulators would delay approval because of the financial strain stemming from the pandemic.

“Hitting consumers with higher bills right now will only add to their problems,” said Mark Toney, TURN’s executive director.

The sticker shock of the forthcoming PG&E rate increases has been magnified by the time it took to negotiate them while the utility was still in bankruptcy. Part of the 2021 increases cover the past year, too.

Customers might have been even harder hit if not for the resistance to PG&E’s initial plan. The utility originally sought about $2 billion in additional revenue from customer rate increases from 2020 to 2022, according to regulatory documents. The final settlement approved by regulators will instead give PG&E an additional $1.15 billion instead.

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