Tag: safety

CA scrambles to fix flawed wildfire safety rebate program

After hundreds of thousands of Northern Californians endured a string of deliberate wildfire-safety blackouts last fall, state regulators created millions of dollars in rebates so the neediest of households could buy high-tech batteries to store up electricity.

The plan had a loophole, however, allowing well-heeled customers to take advantage of the rebates. In some cases, residents have been receiving cash to buy storage batteries for their vacation homes, according to officials with the Public Utilities Commission, which runs the program.

“We should have put tighter controls on this,” PUC Commissioner Liane Randolph said at an Oct. 8 commission meeting.

Now the PUC is scrambling to fix the program.

On Thursday, the PUC will vote on a proposal to overhaul the program by imposing income limits on applicants. The idea is to “direct our scarce resources to the customers with the greatest need,” said PUC Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen, who’s spearheading the changes, in an interview this week. “We need to target it.”

The proposed fixes come as the PUC’s “self-generation incentive program” has proven enormously popular in an era in which wildfire-safety blackouts have become increasingly common. California’s major utilities have imposed eight “public safety power shutoffs” so far this year, and PG&E Corp. warned another blackout could hit Wednesday evening for 54,000 homes and businesses.

The incentive plan, approved by the PUC last January, provides $830 million in rebates through the end of 2024 for a variety of programs to help Californians cope with the effects of the shutoffs, the blackouts imposed when fierce winds kick up and wildfire risks intensify.

The cost is paid for by customers of the major utilities. For most PG&E residential customers, the charge adds about 23 cents a month to their bill, according to figures provided by PG&E spokeswoman Ari Venrenen.

A big chunk of the PUC’s incentive program, dubbed the “equity resiliency budget,” allocates $612 million for Californians in high-risk wildfire areas or have lived through at least two wildfire-safety blackouts.

To be eligible, they have to be either low-income residents (with household incomes that don’t exceed 80% of the area’s median) or medically vulnerable — people whose health would be endangered if the power gets shut off.

‘These are very generous subsidies’

One other group of people are eligible: Californians who rely on electricity to power their water wells. As things stand now, these customers don’t have to meet any income standards.

That’s where the problems have crept in. The program has proved wildly popular among electric-well owners, to the point that Rechtschaffen and his fellow commissioners are worried that these customers are crowding out other, needier Californians.

The program has become wildly popular. Just nine months after the program was authorized, customers have already applied for $390 million of the $612 million fund, which is supposed to last through the end of 2024.

Little wonder. For those who qualify, the rebates cover all or nearly all of the cost of a storage battery — a device that can cost many thousands

Continue reading

The Day – Your Turn: Evaluating the safety of vacation destinations

COVID-19 has caused long-awaited vacations to be cancelled, family reunions to be postponed, and celebrations to be done virtually. It was unclear how or where to travel safely and difficult to keep track of quarantine requirements.

After months of rebooking trips and tracking vacation destinations, I decided to see for myself what travel is like in this unprecedented time. As a travel advisor, I believed firsthand experience, along with access to colleagues visiting other destinations, would be key to advising clients properly as more destinations open to travelers.

Travel is more complicated now than it has been in my 32 years in the industry. So I explored three locations, calling them the 50 Shades of Blue tour because they are all on the water.

After studying scientific reports and analyses, I learned that mask requiremens and air filtration systems on commercial aircraft effectively remove particles from the air, making flying quite low risk.

Fewer travelers means extra space on planes, but to be extra cautious, I flew Delta and JetBlue which committed to keeping middle seats empty, guaranteeing reduced capacity.

Uncrowded airports made social distancing easy, and passengers were good about following safety instructions. I found that wearing a mask while flying, even for extended periods, wasn’t as difficult as expected.

My first destination was Los Cabos, Mexico, on the west coast. This region where “the desert meets the sea” borders the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. Travelers visit trendy Cabo San Lucas or laid-back San Jose and enjoy world-class dining and service with breathtaking views.

There are dozens of resorts offering choices for almost any travel style, including golf and water sports. To keep guests safe, hotel capacity is currently capped at 30%. I inspected 12 hotels during my 10 days there, visited local eateries and took excursions, coming away impressed by the extensive precautions taken by hotels and locals.

Without exception, everyone wore a mask. Some also wore eye coverings, face shields and gloves. When we entered an establishment, shoes were sanitized, and temperatures were taken. Hotels sanitized luggage. In some places, we even passed through a sanitizing booth before entry.

Next, I traveled to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, to inspect all-inclusive resorts in that Caribbean destination. As with Cabo, the staff was 100% committed to guest safety. Workers wear masks all the time. Activities, including meals, were outdoors. Hotel employees were screened daily and regularly tested. The Dominican government has limited hotel capacity to 30% to make social distancing a breeze. And, despite reports of COVID-19 in the Dominican Republic, there are few cases in tourism-centric Punta Cana.

For the final leg of my tour, I traveled to Tahiti. This South Pacific country has had very few COVID-19 cases and enforces strict protocols for residents and travelers. Negative RT-PCR tests within three days of departure are required, and visitors receive self-test kits to be completed on their fourth day in Tahiti.

Several of the spectacular islands I visited have had zero or only a handful

Continue reading

Coronavirus Affecting Global Travel; Hotels Must Review Health and Safety Measures

Updated April 13, 2020

Hotel occupancy partnerships with local governments

Texas Hotel & Lodging Association is in communication with the State of Texas and with local governments regarding the possibility of hotels entering into an occupancy agreement lease or other agreement with the government during the response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Register Your Property and More Information Here.

Have questions about the PPP loan program? See our explainer here.

Texas Workforce Commission hosts a webinar with THLA, answering your questions about unemployment claims. See more here.

CARES Act Passed into law: $2.2 trillion stimulus package, including relief for hotels.

Read more here.

Local governments are issuing shelter-in-place orders.

Read more here.

Governor Abbott orders statewide closure of dining areas; limits public gathering.

Read more here.

Texas Hotel & Lodging Association is in communication with the State of Texas and with local governments regarding the possibility of hotels entering into an occupancy agreement lease or other agreement with the government during the response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

More information here.

Hotel Industry’s Response and Economic Recovery Proposals.

Read an update

We are responding to assist hotels during this crisis.

Know the facts and don’t panic. 

  • Hotels must review health and safety measures for COVID-19 and other viruses.
  • It is also important to avoid panic or fear over the new outbreak of the coronavirus. 
  • Hotels should take this virus seriously, and have a plan in place for guests and for employees.

THLA has contacted experts, researched the issue, and we have compiled answers to your questions.  

What is the “COVID-19 coronavirus,” how is it spread, and how is it affecting travel?

Read more about the coronavirus and how it is affecting the Texas hotel industry.

How hotels can prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus

Updated March 16, 2020. Although the CDC is advising businesses that no additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time, we are advising hotel properties to follow the advice from leading hotel industry health and safety experts.

Read more about recommended cleaning and sanitization practices.

Where can we get more information about the COVID-19 coronavirus?

  • Our partners at Fisher Phillips released an excellent comprehensive guide for employers.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a situation page dedicated to the COVID-19 coronavirus.  The CDC is updating this page regularly with the latest information on the status of the outbreak and guidance to stay healthy.
  • The Texas Department of State Health Services is the agency responsible for responding to health issues within Texas. This DSHS COVID-19 webpage has up-to-date information about the State of Texas’s response to the issue.
  • AHLA has a one-pager guide for employers available here.

Source Article

Continue reading

Travel Ideas To Spain From Key Gadgets To Pack To Safety

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was an author, journalist, and political activist. There is room for all expressions of vacationer on this planet of travel however what causes ‘dangerous vacations’ normally results from one not understanding what kind of traveler they’re. If you’re coming to India the primary time, it is suggested that you simply learn in regards to the various locations you are planning to go to and make full preparations for lodging.

Ebook your resorts, cars etc online and enjoy a comparatively problem-free vacation. In case your foreign money can be exchanged at a reasonable charge, this could greatly enhance your vacation expertise. However, this won’t happen when you select bus travel.

Don’t forget to visit, too, the Buddhanikantha Temple, one other one in every of its famous vacationer locations. The Barbadians, or Bajans as they’re more generally referred to on the island, costume business casual most of the time. 27. Familiarize yourself with prepare and bus schedules before traveling.

SUCCESSFUL A VISIT, and coming to a TRAVEL SOCIAL GATHERING beginning a Residence Primarily based Enterprise, you see all of the ret of them needed me to stop what I was doing and spend full time with them. Nonetheless, in some situations, this may be beneficial for travel, the airways may lower their prices with the intention to get your corporation and this may save you cash.

Do not forget to go to, too, the Buddhanikantha Temple, one other considered one of its well-known tourist destinations. The Barbadians, or Bajans as they’re more commonly referred to on the island, costume business casual more often than not. 27. Familiarize your self with practice and bus schedules earlier than traveling.…

Continue reading

10 Finest Travel Safety Suggestions

Worldwide travel generally is a great experience; it means that you can witness many new cultures and life. Buses do service the numerous small resorts, although you may have to wait fairly someday, whereas taxis are way more available, however can be dearer than automotive rental during a vacation, making an allowance for also transport to and from the airport.

If you wish to know extra about Pakistan’s tradition and folks, then the Swat Museum is a should place for you to visit. So, I went to the Travel Social gathering, and I won a visit, received started with the business. In the metropolis business costume is the norm for locals and there are numerous males in ties and even jackets.

Buses do service the many small resorts, although you will have to attend quite someday, whereas taxis are far more readily available, however can be more expensive than automotive rental in the course of a vacation, considering additionally transport to and from the airport.

If you wish to know extra about Pakistan’s tradition and people, then the Swat Museum is a must place so that you can go to. So, I went to the Travel Party, and I won a trip, acquired started with the business. Within the city business costume is the norm for locals and there are lots of males in ties and even jackets.

One other distinctive place to go to is the Katmandu the place you’re going to get to know extra about its tradition and folks by strolling within the Katmandu Durbar Sq.. To get away from the stress and pressure of their work, they normally take just a few days off to go to vacationer places with their households to see places and enjoy a implausible trip.…

Continue reading