Monday, January 30, 2023


Massachusetts could restrict police use of facial recognition technology, Wyoming mulls more health coverage for workers, and a report finds low salary contributes to social workers leaving the field.


Civil rights activists push for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act following the killing of Tyre Nichols, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he can reach a deal with President Biden on the debt ceiling, and election experts say 2023 could shape voting rights across the country.


"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

More Kentuckians Behind on Utility Bills as Rates Soar


Wednesday, November 16, 2022   

One out of six American families is behind on their utility bills, according to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association.

Part of the reason for higher utility costs is additional fuel surcharges, based on the energy customers use in kilowatt-hours.

Joshua Bills, commercial energy specialist for the Mountain Association, said charges fluctuate in response to the price of fuel, noting utility companies use the surcharge to pass the buck onto ratepayers.

"They just pass those costs directly to customers, as they receive them," Bills explained. "It sort of reduces the risk to the utility of the volatility, and places all of that volatility on customers."

He pointed out switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, upgrading heating and cooling systems, and running home appliances during "off-peak" hours each month are all ways to decrease consumption and reduce the monthly surcharge.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts electricity prices will continue to rise, with global instability and the continued increase in demand for power, through the winter.

Cara Cooper, coordinator for the group Kentuckians for Energy Democracy, said public comment periods are some of the best tools people have to help direct how energy rates are determined, and what kinds of energy sources companies should prioritize.

"Every day, the Public Service Commission in Kentucky is making really important decisions related to regulating our electric utilities," Cooper noted.

Research shows states with solar and wind infrastructure in place saw lower rate increases between June 2021 and July 2022, compared to states without renewable-power options. Bills stressed counties in the Commonwealth are beginning to take steps toward clean energy, but progress has been slow.

"Kentucky has a long ways to go compared to other states," Bills acknowledged. "We do have quite an influx of proposals for merchant solar. But there's very little groundbreaking happening yet with all those proposals."

Merchant solar is solar power financed by investors and sold to utility companies. Bills noted the Inflation Reduction Act has incentives for boosting energy efficiency and clean energy.

Next year, Kentucky small businesses and households may be eligible for federal assistance to help reduce their power usage.

Disclosure: The Mountain Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Community Issues and Volunteering, Consumer Issues, Environment, and Rural/Farming Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Facial-recognition technology companies, which originally partnered with law enforcement, are now working with schools and universities to increase safety and prevent shootings by denying campus access to people who have been banned, or to monitor activity inside school buildings. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Lawmakers in the Commonwealth are considering legislation to ensure police use of facial-recognition technology also protects people's privacy and civ…


Next week, Ohio farmers and their advocates head to Washington, D.C., to push for shifting federal programs toward growing nutritious food, as …

Social Issues

Social justice advocates have just launched a new public education campaign. It's called "Just Safe," and it's aimed at changing the conversation …

Since the beginning of 2022, seven Western states have initiated programs to maintain wildlife habitat and safe passage, through fencing, signs, overpasses and underpasses, according to Pew research. (TaborChichakly/Adobe Stock)


Reducing the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions is the goal of a bill before the New Mexico Legislature this session. Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-…

Social Issues

A Nevada nonprofit is celebrating a 94% graduation rate among its high school seniors for the 2021-2022 school year. Tami Hance-Lehr. CEO and state …

Super Bowl LVII will be held at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Feb. 12. (Katherine Welles/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Super Bowl LVII is right around the corner, which means Arizona will see hefty spending and wide exposure because of the massive sporting event…

Health and Wellness

It is not a pandemic yet, but eye doctors worry the constant use of digital devices could eventually result in long-term health problems for many …


Maine's small farmers are encouraged to complete the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture census to ensure they have a voice in federal decisions …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021