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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • Police seek robbery suspect
  • Lowe’s to open in November
  • Gas expansion costing consumers
  • Alabama Power receives rate hike


Police seek robbery suspect 

Police in Anniston  are searching for a man who robbed the Sevens Food Mart in Anniston Friday.  Police said, the two owners of the West 15th Street store were locking the front door and heading home around 10 p.m. Friday when a man with a handgun met them in the parking lot. Police said the man demanded money from one of the men, taking an undisclosed amount of cash. As the gunman robbed one victim, the other owner produced a handgun and fired two shots at the gunman. The suspect did not return fire, but made a hasty retreat. The business owners said they recognized the gunman as an occasional shopper at the market.  


Lowe’s to open in November 

The new Lowe’s construction at the intersection of Summerall Gate road and Highway 21 is moving ahead of schedule.  According to Anniston Mayor Chip Howell,  the project is expected to be completed and open by November.  In addition to the Lowe’s construction,  Howell said that there has been additional interest in the same area.


Gas expansion costing consumers 

It's not just increased demand that sends summertime gasoline prices soaring. It's also the increased temperature.  As the temperature rises, gasoline expands and the amount of energy in each gallon drops. Since gas is priced at a 60-degree standard and gas pumps don't adjust for temperature changes, motorists often get less bang for their buck in warmer weather.  Consumer groups say that could cost consumers between 3 and 9 cents a gallon.  The effect could cost U.S. drivers more than $1.5 billion in the summertime, according to the House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy, which recently addressed it in hearings. The committee's chair, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, has long been an advocate on the issue and has new clout as a member of the congressional majority.  Gas retailers say adjusting their pumps would be too costly, and they asked Kucinich to call off the hearings and wait for more studies. The issue has driven trial lawyers to file federal lawsuits accusing retailers of using simple physics to take advantage of consumers. Challenges have been filed in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kansas, Missouri and New Jersey, among other states, and some are seeking class-action status.  The latest lawsuit, filed last week in federal district court in Georgia, claims that distributors have been "unjustly enriched" by tens of millions of dollars. They did so by paying taxes on the fuel based on the colder industry standard but pocketing the taxes collected from customers when the temperature soars, it alleged.  


Alabama Power receives rate hike 

The annual bill of a typical residential customer of Alabama Power Co. will rise by about $67, or 5.6 percent, starting July 1, after the state Public Service Commission approved a rate increase for the utility Monday. The PSC voted 3-0 to let the company charge residential, commercial and industrial customers an energy cost recovery charge of $31 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, up from the current $24.  Below-normal rainfall this year and last year reduced power production from Alabama Power's dams, forcing the utility to burn more coal and natural gas at other power plants to make up the difference. The switch to other fuels has cost an extra $180 million over the last 18 months. After taxes, which vary by usage, the total increase in the energy cost recovery charge for residential customers will be $7.37 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours, the amount of electricity a typical residential customer uses in a month.  But Alabama Power at the same time plans to reduce, by $1.73 per month for residential customers, the monthly natural disaster reserve charge it collects from customers. Since early 2006, the PSC has let the utility charge residential customers $2.48 per month, in part to repay about $42 million the company spent to restore power to customers after Hurricane Katrina and other storms.  For a typical residential customer, the increase of $7.37 per month in the energy cost recovery charge minus the savings of $1.78 per month, including reduced taxes, in the natural disaster reserve charge will yield a net increase of $5.59 per monthly bill starting July 1. That will raise a typical residential customer's annual bill by $67.08 a year.

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