Tag Archives: Wyoming

electricity

Customers Rank SRP Highest in West, U.S.

Salt River Project’s electric customers continue to give SRP high marks for customer satisfaction.  In a report issued today by J.D. Power and Associates, SRP received the top score for residential electric service in the Large Utilities segment in the western United States for the 12th consecutive year and the highest total among the nation’s largest utilities for the fifth year in a row.

SRP’s ranking was bolstered by sweeping the No. 1 spot in the survey’s Large Utilities segment in the West region for all six survey components, Power Quality and Reliability, Billing and Payment, Corporate Citizenship, Price, Communications and Customer Service. Among all large utilities across the nation, SRP scored highest in customer satisfaction for the eighth time in the 15 years J.D. Power and Associates has conducted its study of residential customers.  With a Customer Satisfaction Index score of 709 on a 1,000-point scale in this year’s ranking, SRP is the only electric utility that has been ranked among the top 10 in the U.S. in all 15 years.

It is the 14th time in the last 15 years that SRP scored the highest in the West among large electric utilities (500,000 or more residential customers). The average score in the West large region, which covers utilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, was 654.

The 2013 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study was based on responses from about 103,000 online interviews conducted from July 2012 through May 2013 among residential customers of the 126 largest electric utility brands across the nation, which collectively represent more than 94 million households.  More information on the J.D. Power and Associates’ study can be found at www.jdpower.com/library/index.htm.

SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, providing electric service to more than 970,000 customers.  SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 1 million acre-feet to agricultural, urban and municipal water users.

Banner Goldfield Medical Center is newest Banner hospital

Banner Health has selected Banner Goldfield Medical Center as the name for its newest facility, reflecting the community’s top naming choice, as well as the natural and majestic environment provided by the Goldfield Mountains, located near the medical center.

The Banner Goldfield name replaces the name of Arizona Regional Medical Center, which will join Banner Health on May 15. The 30-bed hospital will serve as a gateway to Banner’s array of specialized services in the East Valley.

“The Banner Goldfield name was chosen for many factors including community preference, meaning and distinctiveness,” said Julie Nunley, CEO of Banner Ironwood (and Banner Goldfield, beginning May 15). “The Goldfield Mountains are a beautiful backdrop to the newest addition to the Banner family.”

To ensure the smoothest transition possible, Banner Goldfield will temporarily close beginning May 15, but will begin providing patient care again Friday, June 14.

This transition period will provide the time necessary to implement the many systems and practices that are the foundation of Banner Health’s standing as a top health system in the nation for clinical care. The time will also be used to install new technology and equipment and train staff.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Banner Health is one of the largest, nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system manages 23 acute-care hospitals, the Banner Health Network and Banner Medical Group, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services including family clinics, home care and hospice services and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com.

stk99406cor

Most Banner employees comply with ‘No Flu For You’ policy

A remarkable nearly 100 percent of Banner Health’s approximately 36,000 employees have complied with the company’s No Flu For You policy. This commitment by Banner employees, to decrease the risk of flu infections among fellow employees and patients, is especially timely as the Centers for Disease Control is predicting an early start to a potentially heavy and deadly flu season.

All employees and volunteers were required to receive the flu vaccine, which was offered at no cost. Those unable to receive the vaccination because of medical or religious reasons were able to receive an exemption but must wear masks during the flu season.

“Patients and families who turn to Banner Health can be assured that our employees have taken the necessary steps to ensure their safety and prevent the spread of the flu,” said Dr. Marjorie Bessel, M.D., chief medical officer for Banner’s Arizona East Region.

This policy is in place at all of Banner’s facilities including all of its acute-care hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. At least 11 states, including Colorado, have regulations enacted regarding influenza immunization of healthcare workers, either requiring immunization or signed declinations for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.

Banner continues to work with less than five employees who are not in compliance to ensure their return to the workplace. None of these employees are currently working at Banner facilities, so patients and their families can be assured Banner is doing its very best to protect everyone during the flu season.

The flu is a contagious and deadly disease, contributing to more than 36,000 preventable deaths annually in the U.S. Vaccination is a very effective way to prevent it. According for the Centers of Disease Control, flu vaccination of health care workers have been shown to help prevent death in patients, as well as reduce the influenza infection.

The flu shot that’s given to all health care workers and the general public this year protects against two strains of influenza A and influenza B virus. This year, shots became available in September since flu season typically begins in October with spikes in January and February. The vaccine protects for about one year.

About Banner Health
Headquartered in Phoenix, Banner Health is one of the largest, nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns or manages 23 acute-care hospitals, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services including physician clinics and home care and hospice services. Banner Health is in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming.

SWEEP Provides Energy Efficiency Ideas for Arizona

Since its inception in 2001, The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, or SWEEP as it is more commonly known, has tried to find new and innovative ways that will advance energy efficiency in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Covering such topics as buildings and transportation efficiency programs, SWEEP mainly focuses on electric utility programs and the impact they can have on each state if they were to be adopted.

Recently, founder and executive director of SWEEP, Howard Geller, spoke to a group of industry professionals about the new study conducted by the company that analyzes “best practice” utility energy efficiency programs and their benefits not only for the Southwest, but more specifically how they benefit the state of Arizona.

In the new study, SWEEP introduces 18 new programs for residential, commercial and industrial customers based on “best practice” programs that are offered by leading utilities and other companies and each were selected to demonstrate maximized cost-effective energy savings by 2020. Some programs that Geller believes should be implemented are to provide affordable weatherization services to homes, allow buildings and homes to receive retrofitting services, provide education and incentives to both homes and companies for using energy-efficient lighting, to implement a program for refrigerator and freezer recycling and provide incentives for both homes and companies to install proper cooling and heating units. According to the study, investing in high-energy efficiency programs like the ones listed above will allow commercial and industrial companies to see an average cost of saved energy of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hours (kWH) and residential units to see an average cost of saved energy of 3.6 kWh.

With the implementation of these programs, in addition to the other programs included in the study, SWEEP believes that by the year 2020 the state of Arizona can see a net economic benefit of $7.3 billion. With these allocated resources, Arizona would have the opportunity to invest in more energy efficiency programs, resulting in the creation of 10,400 new jobs. In addition to the economic impact, the state of Arizona would see a large decrease in air pollutant emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions, which result from cars and power plants, would be reduced by 9.6 million metric tons per year by 2020. This is the equivalent to taking approximately 1.9 million passenger vehicles off the roads in Arizona. Other toxic gases such as nitrous oxide and sodium dioxide would have less of a presence in the atmosphere, resulting in fewer cases of chronic bronchitis and asthma, as well as fewer hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases throughout the Valley.

However, just like how the old saying “you gotta spend money to make money” goes, the cost of obtaining these benefits costs a pretty penny. Gellar suggests that Arizona, and the Southwest region as a whole, can one day see these amazing benefits if they are willing to invest $17 billion collectively. Despite this, SWEEP is confident that by the year 2020, the Southwest region could see up to $37 billion in utility and public health benefits, meaning that the region would see a net economic benefit of $20 billion. Gellar stated that the only way Arizona and the Southwest are going to see this “$20 billion dollar bonanza” would be to adopt energy savings goals, decouple utility fixed costs and electricity sales, reward performance of adopting the programs, maximize participation by increased funding for all programs and allow all utilities to be involved.

Arizona is currently in the lead in the Southwest region toward adopting more sustainable and energy efficient programs.

For more information on the study conducted by the Southwest Energy Efficient Project or to read the full report, visit http://www.20billionbonanza.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

financial

Credit unions grow membership, revenue

Like many other industries, credit unions in Arizona are bouncing back from the economic downturn.

Credit unions, which are similar to banks in the products and services that they offer except at a slightly lower cost, are taking advantage of consumer disenchantment with big banks to attract new members. According to a recent National Credit Union Administration report, through the first quarter of 2012, credit unions around the country combined for a record 92.5 million members.

“As local, member-owned financial institutions, credit unions are simply doing what they have always been good at,” said Scott Earl, CEO of Mountain West Credit Union Association, a trade organization of credit unions across Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. “They have a long history and reputation for providing excellent member service, financial education and a wide variety of financial services to fit their members needs. The recent increased recognition of these qualities and the progress credit unions have made is establishing their success as an industry.”

Nationally, credit unions generated $2.1 billion in profits and added 667,000 new members in the first quarter of 2012, a 25 percent spike in profits compared with a year earlier. Most large Arizona credit unions — including Desert Schools, TruWest, Arizona State, Credit Union West and Arizona Federal — saw profits roughly double in the first quarter of 2012, compared with earnings from a year earlier.

“The word ‘profit’ is a bit of a misnomer,” said Paul Stull, senior vice president of strategy and brand for Arizona State Credit Union. “Credit unions do have net income. However, all credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives. The net income or funds available after expenses are paid become part of a credit union’s capital or are used to build new branches, purchase new technology or offer additional services.”

Something that Arizona State Credit Union added recently were construction loans to its home loan portfolio in anticipation of an improving economy, as evidenced by the 27 percent growth of new home sales in the first quarter, compared to the prior year.

The construction loan program allows members the opportunity to lock in their mortgage rate early and avoid the possibility of fluctuating rates during the construction phase. Additional perks to this all-in-one loan include needing to only qualify once, signing one set of loan documents and paying one set of loan fees for both the construction-phase financing and permanent mortgage.

“As a local financial cooperative, the Credit Union is proud to offer low rates and flexible terms on a product that few financial institutions are offering,” said David E. Doss, president and CEO of Arizona State Credit Union. “We are excited to add construction loans to our home loan options as it is one more way we can assist members residing in the Arizona communities we serve.”

A J.D. Power and Associates study this year showed that consumer backlash against fees and the perception of poor customer service from some of the bigger banks have caused some consumers to switch to credit unions, whichunlike banks, which are run as private businesses seeking profits, operate as nonprofit entities and are technically owned by their members.

“Generally credit unions offer lower fees and better interest rates than banks,” Stull said. “This is one reason consumers may come to a credit union. We also see many people that switch because they want to do business with a local financial institution that is based in Arizona. Our deposits are returned to the community in the form of loans than in turn grow jobs and economic development in the communities we serve. Many consumers have made a choice to support local businesses, and credit unions are a great example of that.”

While credit unions never issue subprime mortgages, which many experts blame for helping lead the nation into the recession, credit unions did get hit with the impact of the failing economy. One lesson Earl said they learned: Innovation.

“Learning to manage resources while providing increased quality of services through the recession has challenged the way credit unions approach problems,” he said. “Increased creativity and credit union technology are some of more positive lessons for the long term.”
In addition to lower fees and increasing efficiency that is resulting from lessons learned in the wake of the recession, Stull said credit unions offer free financial counseling, will help members create a budget to manage their funds, and Arizona State Credit Union’s Home Affordable Refinance Program has allowed homeowners who owe more than the house is worth to refinance and reduce their payments.

“Choosing a credit union is a win-win situation for consumers,” Stull said. “They can get a better rate or lower fees to help them stretch their budgets, and they can benefit their community by doing business with a local financial cooperative that helps create jobs and grow the local economy. You get a good deal and you can feel good about helping your community, too.”