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U.S. hits 12 million COVID-19 cases as many Americans defy Thanksgiving travel guidance – Reuters

https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-usa-travel-idUSKBN2810UX

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(Reuters) – The United States recorded its 12th million COVID-19 case on Saturday, even as millions of Americans were expected to travel for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, ignoring warnings from health officials about furthering the spread of the infectious disease.

More than 12,010,000 cases of the coronavirus were reported, according to a Reuters tally of public health data, capping a series of days with record-breaking infections, with the Midwest experiencing one of the most dramatic increases in cases per capita.

The COVID-19 epidemic has claimed more than 255,000 lives in the United States – more than in any other nation – according to the Reuters tally – and the recent escalation has prompted more than 20 states to impose sweeping new restrictions this month to curb the virus.

Reuters data shows the pace of new U.S. infections has quickened, with nearly one million more cases recorded in just the last 6 days before the latest record. This compares with the 8 days it took to get from 10 million cases to 11 million, and the 10 days it took to get from 9 million to 10 million.

More than 1 million people flew through U.S. airports on Friday, according to data from the Transportation Security Administration, fueling fears of even greater spread of the virus. It was the second-heaviest domestic air traffic day since the start of the pandemic, despite pleas from health officials for Americans to stay home.

“This is the 2nd time since the pandemic passenger volume has surpassed 1 million,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

Friday marked another milestone in the United States as the highest number of new COVID-19 cases was reported – 196,815 infections in a day.

Health officials have warned that the burgeoning wave of infections could soon overwhelm the healthcare system if people do not follow public health guidance, particularly around not traveling and mingling with other households for Thursday’s traditional Thanksgiving celebration.

Still, video footage on Twitter showed more than a hundred people, wearing masks, crowding departure gates at Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday. Lines for TSA checkpoints and kiosks at Chicago O’Hare airport were also long on Friday and “reminiscent of pre-pandemic times,” local TV station WGN reported.

The number of Thanksgiving air travelers was expected to decline by 47.5% from 2019, but nonetheless, 2.4 million people were forecast to take to the skies, according to a report earlier this month from the American Automobile Association. It said the number traveling by car was expected to fall by only about 4%.

“For those who are considering making a trip, the majority will go by car, which provides the flexibility to modify holiday travel plans up until the day of departure,” AAA Senior Vice President Paula Twidale said in a statement.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has issued a “strong recommendation” to Americans to refrain from all kinds of travel over Thanksgiving.

“We’re alarmed with the exponential increase in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths,” CDC official Henry Walke told reporters on Thursday.

Seven governors of Midwestern states- Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan – encouraged their residents to heed medical advice over the holidays and not to celebrate Thanksgiving with people outside their households.

In a video message, the governors also referred to the recent announcement from Pfizer Inc that its COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective. Pfizer said it would seek emergency-use authorization of its vaccine from U.S. regulators, the first such application.

“This is great news, but it doesn’t mean we can let our guard down,” Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said.

Reporting by Gabriella Borter in Fairfield, Connecticut; Additional reporting by Anurag Maan in Bengaluru and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Dan Grebler

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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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