The Euro Comes Under Increasing Pressure

FERC has been shifting the terminology used to describe electricity consumers from “ratepayers” to “customers,” which better reflects current realities in the evolving utility industry. “The journey away from “ratepayer” starts when thinking about the utility as a provider of energy efficiency, demand response and other demand-side management techniques. When the utility is partly in the business of reducing usage — and often pays for those programs with a small charge on customer bills — it brings attention to the fact that customers truly care about the size of their bill, not the rate that is multiplied by their usage to calculate the bill. As Rocky Mountain Institute’s Amory Lovins used to ask: ‘Have you ever paid a rate? Do you know anyone who has ever paid a rate?’” [Greentech Media]

This humorous tid bit describes how Russian President Vladimir Putin – on his way back from China where he oversaw the signing of a historic long-term natural gas supply deal between Gazprom and CNPC – stopped in the Amur region, on the border with China, to do some humanitarian work and participate in an “environmental special operation.” “Vladimir Putin has never been shy of co-opting wild animals for photo opportunities, and the Russian president was on hand to help release three orphaned tigers into the wild. Or rather, release two orphaned tigers into the wild. While male tigers Kuzya and Borya took off into the forest of the Amur region nature reserve as soon as Putin pulled a rope to open their cages, their sister, Ilona, refused to leave. Putin banged the cage with a sapling wedged through the links of the chain fence around the enclosure but to no avail.” [The Guardian]

Hess took a major step in restructuring the enterprise into a pure-play upstream exploration and production company when it announced Thursday the sale of its retail gasoline station business to Marathon subsidiary Speedway for $2.87 billion. At first glance it appeared the iconic toy Hess trucks sold since 1964 around Christmas time at its retail outlets would be relegated to the history books, but thankfully the plastic bits of holiday cheer will live on. The Hess trucks will reportedly now be sold online. [CNN Money]