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Cincinnati Streetcar / Cincinnati Bell Connector News

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Sunday nite, 12/7, I hope you guys all saw 60 minutes about Duke Energy's record in North Carolina. 

 

Thanks, I checked it out. Can be viewed online here:

http://www.cbs.com/shows/60_minutes/video/mMNhMyK3d3Qkaaq15NvLHMvP2rlEMvgV/the-spill-at-dan-river/

 

In the segment, it is claimed that Duke Energy is the most powerful entity in the state of North Carolina. Now we have them flexing their muscle in Ohio, claiming roads made of steel are rightly treated discriminately versus concrete roads because, the better part of a century ago, steel roads (which no longer exist) were built by private businesses (which no longer exist). Perhaps this anachronism "needs more study" (as is perpetually the case with environmental issues and solutions presented in the video), but for now we should obviously act in whichever way is most fair advantageous to Duke.

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^I've been wondering that. I don't know of anyone who has someone else.

 

Doesn't Duke also own the supply lines? Meaning that unless you live in an area where another supplier has built utilities you really don't have an option? Or am I completely inept at my understanding of utility ownership (which is completely possible).

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^Duke has to be your energy company. You can choose a different supplier of energy though. So while Duke is required to maintain the lines and treat all customers equally, you have a choice as to who produces the energy. http://www.switchonohio.com/site/viewprovider?provider_id=7

 

If you are in the city and use Cincinnati’s aggregate buying, you are already getting your electric from someone else (my bill says FirstEnergy is the supplier). It looks like Duke does provide natural gas, though. I have always doubted that going off on your own to buy gas/electric from another provider would be cheaper than sticking with the city-wide lowest bid, but that depends on a lot of things. I don’t think there’s substantial/consistent savings (though you can gamble on fixed rates/terms), but if the purpose is to make a statement, it’ll probably only cost a few bucks a month at most for most residences.

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Nearly all single family homes, condos, and most apartments are already switched from Duke electricity supplier to First Energy supplier. the Bill will still come from Duke and have duke's logo on it, but under supplier it should say FES. 

 

If it Doesn't, you can switch to FES, which is 7% lower than the Duke rate. 

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Nearly all single family homes, condos, and most apartments are already switched from Duke electricity supplier to First Energy supplier. the Bill will still come from Duke and have duke's logo on it, but under supplier it should say FES. 

 

If it Doesn't, you can switch to FES, which is 7% lower than the Duke rate. 

 

I remember having great difficulty changing our provider to First Energy last year (representative acted like I was bothering them trying to switch).  We just purchased a new condo this year in OTR and it looks like the electrical charges (not distribution charges) were defaulted to Duke Energy.  Has anyone else had these problems with getting First Energy as the provider and having new service default to Duke?


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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Using FirstEnergy as supplier (for city residents) is supposed to be opt-out. So Duke shouldn't be your provider unless you specifically request that they be. If this is not the case, and Duke is a default provided for some city residents, there's some kind of problem that the city should be notified of. Perhaps a previous property owner's choice rolls over?

 

I don't think gas is covered by this. Does anyone know about alternative gas providers, if it isn't?

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^Is there any way for the "gas hookup fee" that's attached every month to be less? It's $35/month which is more than half my bill. I use so little gas every month which is frustrating.

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I don't believe it is possible. I lived in an apartment that only used gas for the stove. That stove cost me $35/month. The $35/month fee is for maintaining the gas lines.

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That's what I figured. I really wish everything that is gas in my place was just electric instead. Having half my energy bill dedicated to that charge isn't something I'll ever be happy with.

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^Is there any way for the "gas hookup fee" that's attached every month to be less? It's $35/month which is more than half my bill. I use so little gas every month which is frustrating.

 

What's worse is that for much larger customers, who have bigger pipes and consume much more gas, the connection charge is not proportionately higher.

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^ Or suburban locations where there's way more length of pipe out at the street.  It's one of those insidious ways that city dwellers, or anyone living in apartments or more compact development, subsidizes those who live in less dense areas without even knowing it.

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I don't believe it is possible. I lived in an apartment that only used gas for the stove. That stove cost me $35/month. The $35/month fee is for maintaining the gas lines.

 

This is a newer charge, too. There used to be a minimal fee for a gas connection, and the usage based charge was higher. Sometime around 2008 or 2009, when I also lived in an apartment that only used gas to the stove, the fee was introduced and it was $25. I went from $10 a month gas bill to $35 overnight, a 350% increase in price despite using the same minimal amount of gas to cook a few nights a week. Even owning a home now that uses gas heat, during the summer months I only use gas for the stove and I’m in the same boat – paying $40 a month to be able to cook.

 

When I had an apartment in OTR I had an electric stove and only used gas for heat. I would call up Duke every April and October to have them turn off/on the gas when the heating season rolled around because I was not about to pay $35 a month and not use any gas whatsoever. I actually had an operator try to tell me I wasn’t allowed to do that once, but they gave in when I started to complain and ask for a supervisor.

 

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I remember when I got my first apartment in Lancaster in 1998-99 my gas bill was only $7 a month during the summer despite having a gas stove. I don't know if it's gone up any, but since the gas company is owned by the city there it doesn't have to turn a profit or grow revenue enough to please investment fund managers.

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I don't believe it is possible. I lived in an apartment that only used gas for the stove. That stove cost me $35/month. The $35/month fee is for maintaining the gas lines.

 

This is a newer charge, too. There used to be a minimal fee for a gas connection, and the usage based charge was higher. Sometime around 2008 or 2009, when I also lived in an apartment that only used gas to the stove, the fee was introduced and it was $25. I went from $10 a month gas bill to $35 overnight, a 350% increase in price despite using the same minimal amount of gas to cook a few nights a week. Even owning a home now that uses gas heat, during the summer months I only use gas for the stove and I’m in the same boat – paying $40 a month to be able to cook.

 

When I had an apartment in OTR I had an electric stove and only used gas for heat. I would call up Duke every April and October to have them turn off/on the gas when the heating season rolled around because I was not about to pay $35 a month and not use any gas whatsoever. I actually had an operator try to tell me I wasn’t allowed to do that once, but they gave in when I started to complain and ask for a supervisor.

 

 

I've had Duke inspectors tell me this is very common.

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It certainly makes sense that you should have a fixed cost associated with the maintenance of the delivery infrastructure, which is independent of the amount of gas/electricity/water/sewer/phone/cable/etc. you actually use.  In fact, some even argue that you shouldn't be able to get out of that responsibility for payment by disconnecting service, in much the same way you can't get out of paying property taxes by abandoning a house.  Utilities, which include streets, sidewalks, transit, etc. are a collective investment that works best when everyone is connected and paying for them, making the per-user cost as low as possible since it's spread amongst everyone.  This is why cord-cutting and going off-grid are being fought so hard by the entrenched businesses, because it increases the per-user cost and drives more of them away, a slippery slope.  It's not unlike when the historic streetcar and bus systems had to start raising fares to cover increased costs and inflation.  It drove some riders away, and as they had to raise fares even more to compensate, it drove even more away and on and on until they went bankrupt. 

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I have this exact same problem right now and it infuriates me. My actual gas use last month was $4.65, but my hookup fee was $35. I get the shared use sentiment, but there's got to be some kind of better formula they can use to allocate the costs better.

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You can buy an early pass for the Cincinnati streetcar tomorrow

 

The gift cards will go on sale tomorrow on the second floor of City Hall, at the Metro sales office in the Mercantile arcade across the street from Government Square and online at go-metro.com.

 

A $25 card will allow users unlimited streetcar rides for the first 15 days of service; a $50 card will allow users unlimited rides for the first 30 days, and $100 will allow unlimited rides for the first 60 days of service. There are 750 $25 cards available, 400 $50 cards and 350 $100 cards. If all of the cards sell, it would raise $73,750 for the project. The base streetcar fare is expected to be $1 for two hours of ridership.

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I have this exact same problem right now and it infuriates me. My actual gas use last month was $4.65, but my hookup fee was $35. I get the shared use sentiment, but there's got to be some kind of better formula they can use to allocate the costs better.

 

Methinks the real infrastructure maintenance cost per dwelling is closer to the $7 amount than the $35.

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It is kind of confusing that it doesn't scale at all. The line supplying my unit is also supplying the other 32 units in my building. You can't tell me that that stretch of gas line costs the same per unit to maintain as a line that is supplying two houses for 100 feet of line.

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I had 700 WLW on the radio last night and the "preview" was for a 9:06 show, and I don't know who the host was.  But anyways, the preview was, "With the new streetcar loss of $15 million, is this the beginning of the end for Cincinnati?".

 

 

Sounds about right. 

 

Its just a shame the streetcar has:

-Bankrupted the city

-Turned us into Detroit

-Brought down our credit rating

-Forced us to fire police/fire fighters

- Stopped us from building the MLK Interchange

- Destroyed our road paving ability

-Destroyed our garbage collecting ability

-Forced us to not cap Ft Washington Way

-Completely prevented other neighborhoods from building anything

-Destroyed our ability to plow and salt roads for winter

 

 

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I had 700 WLW on the radio last night and the "preview" was for a 9:06 show, and I don't know who the host was.  But anyways, the preview was, "With the new streetcar loss of $15 million, is this the beginning of the end for Cincinnati?".

 

 

Sounds about right. 

 

Its just a shame the streetcar has:

-Bankrupted the city

-Turned us into Detroit

-Brought down our credit rating

-Forced us to fire police/fire fighters

- Stopped us from building the MLK Interchange

- Destroyed our road paving ability

-Destroyed our garbage collecting ability

-Forced us to not cap Ft Washington Way

-Completely prevented other neighborhoods from building anything

-Destroyed our ability to plow and salt roads for winter

 

 

 

 

Cranley taking credit for the present budget surplus, even though the streetcar was supposed to destroy the city's finances.  It just comes down to Cranley not being about to shower his cronies with the funds that are now dedicated to the streetcar.  And his endless haggling over the operations both keeps him in the news as some sort of financial watchdog and buys him time to figure out a way to program the money in the pockets of his handlers and goons. 

 

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You can buy an early pass for the Cincinnati streetcar tomorrow

 

The gift cards will go on sale tomorrow on the second floor of City Hall, at the Metro sales office in the Mercantile arcade across the street from Government Square and online at go-metro.com.

 

A $25 card will allow users unlimited streetcar rides for the first 15 days of service; a $50 card will allow users unlimited rides for the first 30 days, and $100 will allow unlimited rides for the first 60 days of service. There are 750 $25 cards available, 400 $50 cards and 350 $100 cards. If all of the cards sell, it would raise $73,750 for the project. The base streetcar fare is expected to be $1 for two hours of ridership.

 

Hmm. For another $40, you can extend that 60-day pass to cover the entire Zone 1 of the Metro network. If you make just 6 round trips out of the basin per month (or if you live outside the basin), you're better off getting the regular Metro monthly pass. Not to mention you can't use these for more than a year and a half.

 

The only reason I see these selling is to politically support the streetcar. Once the streetcar is a mundane reality, these prices won't fly. I guess it's smart to go ahead and capitalize on that support right now, while the whole thing is still abstract and ideological.

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I had 700 WLW on the radio last night and the "preview" was for a 9:06 show, and I don't know who the host was.  But anyways, the preview was, "With the new streetcar loss of $15 million, is this the beginning of the end for Cincinnati?".

 

 

Sounds about right. 

 

Its just a shame the streetcar has:

-Bankrupted the city

-Turned us into Detroit

-Brought down our credit rating

-Forced us to fire police/fire fighters

- Stopped us from building the MLK Interchange

- Destroyed our road paving ability

-Destroyed our garbage collecting ability

-Forced us to not cap Ft Washington Way

-Completely prevented other neighborhoods from building anything

-Destroyed our ability to plow and salt roads for winter

 

 

 

 

Cranley taking credit for the present budget surplus, even though the streetcar was supposed to destroy the city's finances.  It just comes down to Cranley not being about to shower his cronies with the funds that are now dedicated to the streetcar.  And his endless haggling over the operations both keeps him in the news as some sort of financial watchdog and buys him time to figure out a way to program the money in the pockets of his handlers and goons.

 

 

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You can buy an early pass for the Cincinnati streetcar tomorrow

 

The gift cards will go on sale tomorrow on the second floor of City Hall, at the Metro sales office in the Mercantile arcade across the street from Government Square and online at go-metro.com.

 

A $25 card will allow users unlimited streetcar rides for the first 15 days of service; a $50 card will allow users unlimited rides for the first 30 days, and $100 will allow unlimited rides for the first 60 days of service. There are 750 $25 cards available, 400 $50 cards and 350 $100 cards. If all of the cards sell, it would raise $73,750 for the project. The base streetcar fare is expected to be $1 for two hours of ridership.

 

Hmm. For another $40, you can extend that 60-day pass to cover the entire Zone 1 of the Metro network. If you make just 6 round trips out of the basin per month (or if you live outside the basin), you're better off getting the regular Metro monthly pass. Not to mention you can't use these for more than a year and a half.

 

The only reason I see these selling is to politically support the streetcar. Once the streetcar is a mundane reality, these prices won't fly. I guess it's smart to go ahead and capitalize on that support right now, while the whole thing is still abstract and ideological.

 

I will certainly buy a card to support the streetcar, but these pass options are a little bizarre. Why not treat it like a special Metro gift card that is valid anytime after the streetcar's opening date, but dedicate all of that revenue to streetcar start-up costs?

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You can buy an early pass for the Cincinnati streetcar tomorrow

 

The gift cards will go on sale tomorrow on the second floor of City Hall, at the Metro sales office in the Mercantile arcade across the street from Government Square and online at go-metro.com.

 

A $25 card will allow users unlimited streetcar rides for the first 15 days of service; a $50 card will allow users unlimited rides for the first 30 days, and $100 will allow unlimited rides for the first 60 days of service. There are 750 $25 cards available, 400 $50 cards and 350 $100 cards. If all of the cards sell, it would raise $73,750 for the project. The base streetcar fare is expected to be $1 for two hours of ridership.

 

Hmm. For another $40, you can extend that 60-day pass to cover the entire Zone 1 of the Metro network. If you make just 6 round trips out of the basin per month (or if you live outside the basin), you're better off getting the regular Metro monthly pass. Not to mention you can't use these for more than a year and a half.

 

The only reason I see these selling is to politically support the streetcar. Once the streetcar is a mundane reality, these prices won't fly. I guess it's smart to go ahead and capitalize on that support right now, while the whole thing is still abstract and ideological.

 

I will certainly buy a card to support the streetcar, but these pass options are a little bizarre. Why not treat it like a special Metro gift card that is valid anytime after the streetcar's opening date, but dedicate all of that revenue to streetcar start-up costs?

 

That is exactly what I thought it was going to be when "gift cards" were first announced. Since that's the way most gift cards operate -- as cash that can only be used at one company. Maybe they didn't want the PR where Cratherman/Smitherley claimed this was a sleight of hand to transfer bus fare to streetcar operations.

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The city needs to play hardball with Duke by saying to them when it comes times to replace a line they must have their own right of way and not under the street. Maybe under the side walk.

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The city needs to play hardball with Duke by saying to them when it comes times to replace a line they must have their own right of way and not under the street. Maybe under the side walk.

 

At the very least, the city needs to increase the fee that it charges Duke to use the right-of-way.

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October 2014 update can be found here:

http://city-egov.cincinnati-oh.gov/Webtop/ws/council/public/child/Blob/41327.pdf?rpp=-10&m=2&w=doc_no%3D%27201401449%27

 

The report includes some update on the contingency fund saying that 34% of the contingency has been used, and with 18 months of construction remaining there is concern that the contingency will not be enough to complete the project. I really hope that is just being extremely cautious, because if more money needs to be allocated to complete phase 1 that would be a mess.

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