Vermont Business Magazine New unemployment claims in Vermont fell last week. Claims have been up and down the last couple months, rising to over 1,000 before settling back to under 600. For the week of May 10, 2014, there were 536 new, regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance in Vermont. This is a decrease of 32 from the previous week's total, and 143 fewer than they were a year ago.
Energtek Inc. (OTC: EGTK), a leader in hi-tech natural gas solutions and Adsorbed Natural Gas (ANG) technology, has announced that its subsidiary in the USA, Energtek North Country Inc (NCI), has purchased land in Swanton, Vermont, for construction of its regional distribution facilities. Energtek is the second company on the same stretch of I-89 to build a natural gas "filling station" to serve customers who are off the pipeline. NG Advantage operates a compressed natural gas facility in Milton. It began operations in March 2013.
Comcast Business has announced that its full portfolio of Ethernet services are now available across 17 communities in Rutland County. This builds on the company’s 2013 expansion of these services across Chittenden County and marks the next step in its focus on the state by bringing access to a fiber network that provides speeds up to 10 Gigabits-per second (Gbps).
Beginning May 15, Sprint customers in Vermont will be able to use their mobile phones to send a text message to 9-1-1 for emergency help.
“The addition of Sprint as a text-to-911 provider is beneficial for all of our residents and especially important for those with speech or hearing impairments. Sprint is a preferred provider for many who are not able to make a voice call to 9-1-1, and we are excited to be able to offer this service to that community,” said David Tucker, Executive Director of the Enhanced 9-1-1 Board.
by Hilary Niles vtdigger.org The nearly-all-in-one “economic development bill” passed after the House and Senate overcame differences about workers’ compensation. The Senate pushed for more generous reforms to injured workers, while the House wanted a more gradual approach to changes, such as lengthening the period of notice before benefits are discontinued.
by Ayla Yersel and Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine About a third of Vermont small businesses have dropped their health insurance since the inception of Vermont Health Connect, according to a new survey, while very few companies have signed on. But it is very likely that nearly all those individuals employed in small businesses in Vermont have migrated to the state health insurance Exchange.
The 2014 Vermont Legislature adjourned last Saturday after putting the finishing touches on a bill that will result in this year’s state education property taxes going up another $49.5 million. This latest multi-million increase will begin showing up in property tax bills local officials must distribute starting next month. The state education portion of those bills will total $1.0169 billion, up 59 percent since the $640.1 million required just ten years ago. Those figures are net of the homestead property tax adjustment provided to the majority of homeowners.
Vermont lawmakers passed H695 last week, the first single-use battery product stewardship law in the United States. Vermont will be the first state to require single-use battery manufacturers to develop a program for collecting and recycling batteries at their end of life. The program will go into effect on January 1, 2016.
by Timothy McQuiston Vermont Business Magazine Using a US Senate hearing on nuclear plant decommissioning, Chris Recchia, Commissioner of the Vermont Public Service Department, left no doubt that he felt the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is failing in its oversight of nuclear waste storage and the need for continued emergency planning after a plant is decommissioned.
US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will travel to Vermont today to see first-hand how Vermont is helping to lead the nation in transforming our energy system from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, the Vermont congressional delegation announced. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Rep Peter Welch (D-Vermont) will join Moniz at an energy summit in Middlebury to discuss energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate change. Moniz also will visit energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives in Rutland County.
by Timothy McQuiston Vermont Business Magazine The New England region is expected to have the resources needed to meet consumer demand for electricity this summer, according to ISO New England Inc, the operator of the region’s bulk power system and wholesale electricity markets. ISO also reported that wholesale electric prices in New England jumped 45 percent, or $2.7 billion in 2013, mostly because of the rising cost (ie, demand) of natural gas.