What’s new: Friday August 13, 2021
REDUCED GAS RATE INCREASE: The NY State Public Service Commission, in its three-year tariff plan for gas companies in Northern State of National Grid, drastically reduced the rate hike demanded by the utility giant. Rates are frozen in the first year, with increases limited to 2% in the second and third years. The commission adopted and amended a joint proposal signed by businesses, service staff, environmental groups and business groups which, among other things, contains provisions that promote energy efficiency, demand response, geothermal deployment and electrification options to meet customer energy needs while working to reduce demand for natural gas and further minimize the need for additional gas infrastructure.
Upstate companies under the National Grid umbrella include Brooklyn Union Gas Company (KEDNY) and KeySpan Gas East Corp. (KEDLI).
THE PSC AGREEMENT EXCLUDES THE FUNDING OF THE PIPELINE: Two major events impacted the development of the Public Service Commission program joint proposal with National Grid: enactment into law of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act [CLCPA] and the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The CLCPA sets out leading New York policy goals in addressing global climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel extraction and combustion and other activities. Importantly, the adopted joint deal does not include funding for the final phase of the controversial Metropolitan Reliability Infrastructure (MRI) project, a 7-mile natural gas distribution pipeline in North Brooklyn, and disrupts temporarily the construction of the last phase.
The proposal also requires gas companies to first meet the metrics, or targets, of demand reduction initiatives before seeking cost recovery from this and other infrastructure projects.
CATHOLIC SCHOOLS ANNOUNCE BACK-TO-SCHOOL HEALTH PROTOCOLS: As the number of childhood infections continues to rise, elementary schools and parish academies in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn will have new COVID-19 security protocols in place when the new school opens on Wednesday, September 8. guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Therefore, Catholic academies and parish schools in Brooklyn and Queens will require that all students, faculty and staff wear masks on the first day of school.
School officials will continue to encourage vaccinations, social distancing, hand washing and hygiene, while maintaining rigorous daily cleaning and disinfection of facilities as well as improved ventilation.
LAYING LAYING FOR NEW HOUSES IN BED-STUY: Land was laid Thursday for Bed-Stuy North & Central Phase I development in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a project that will create 11 housing units on 13 scattered lots, i.e. nine (9) three-family buildings and two (2) two-family buildings, totaling 31 residential units, located on Bainbridge Street, Chauncey Street and Patchen Avenue, Rochester and Bergen avenues, and Buffalo and Atlantic Avenues. SRBuild is the developer of what will be the fourth project funded by HPD’s Open Door program. It will provide both affordable homeownership and rental options.
Representatives from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) and SRBuild, LLC, as well as City Council member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.
GOOD NEWS FOR MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS: UnitedHealthcare to pay approximately $ 14.3 million in compensation to consumers affected by its policies that excluded treatment for mental health and addiction disorders from coverage. New York Attorney General Letitia James and the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) have negotiated landmark agreements to resolve allegations the health insurance giant has illegally denied health care coverage for health mental health including psychotherapy and addiction treatment to thousands of Americans. As a result of these agreements, New York law and federal law require health insurance plans to cover treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders in the same way that they cover physical health treatment.
As part of the deal, UnitedHealthcare will pay $ 9 million to more than 20,000 New Yorkers with behavioral problems who have received denials or reductions in reimbursement.
DON’T REFUSE THESE FILM TRUCKS: The film production industry has proven to be a major boost in New York City’s economic recovery, according to a report released Thursday by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME). This 2021 New York Film and Television Industry Economic Impact Study provides details on the importance and contribution of the film and television industry to the economy of New York City. The industry was already at its peak in 2019, creating an estimated 185,000 jobs, $ 18.1 billion in wages and $ 81.6 billion in total economic output. Despite the impact of COVID-19, during which television and film productions were closed from March to June 2020, the industry has come back with a vengeance.
Global production has reached pre-pandemic levels, with at least 34 projects filmed in the field in all five boroughs by the end of August 2021. The groundbreaking report comes just as New York City begins to collapse. recover from the pandemic.