Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WVTK Local & State News October 29, 2014

Green Mountain Power is planning a major upgrade of three hydro-electric dams along the Otter Creek. Federal regulators have granted GMP a new license for dams in Proctor, New Haven and Weybridge. The approval includes permission to upgrade the stations to allow a 65-percent increase in electric generation. When finished, the improved hydro-plants will produce enough electricity to power 9,200 homes.

The state of Vermont updates groundwater protection rule. A press release says the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued new Underground Injection Control Rules, replacing less protective 1982 standards. Under the new rule, underground injection wells, defined in Vermont as any hole that accepts waste. Exemptions from the new rules apply to geothermal systems, certain water treatment systems, and some mining wastes such as discharges from settling ponds and sludge lagoons.

Vermont's Health Reform Chief says the state's health exchange website will not be back online this month. The state temporarily pulled the plug on the website in mid-September in order to update and improve its flawed functionality. Officials did not give a hard timeline for a re-launch, but did say they are confident it will be back by November 15th, when the re-enrollment window for next year opens.

Vermont State Police is warning the public over a phone scam. Police say they were advised of two incidents regarding voice mails being left about late payments of taxes to the government. The victims were advised if they didn't call back and provide information an arrest warrant would be filed. Police say they identified the telephone number making the calls from Virginia as (571)-526-0022. Individuals who receives a call shouldn't give out personal information and are advised to contact their local police department.

AT&T is in legal trouble over its unlimited data plan. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing, claiming the wireless carrier misled customers into thinking they had unlimited data to use then slowed down their connection speeds if they used too much. The FTC says the practice, known as "throttling," affected at least 3.5 million customers. In some cases, internet speeds were reportedly reduced as much as 90 percent. AT&T calls the allegations "baseless," and says it has always been transparent with customers about its data use policies.