consumers

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Unexpected price spikes in home energy bills have been a focus for legislators this session, but a new study says even programs designed to lessen the impact of your monthly bill could still be impacting your wallet. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The CTfastrak busway turned a once-abandoned rail line into a limited-access highway spanning New Britain to Hartford, laying the foundation for a new concept in central Connecticut: rapid transit.

Political and economic aspirations now ride on the busway's success.

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State regulators have so far heard two days of testimony on how and whether to allow the Connecticut’s second largest electric utility to be taken over by a foreign corporation.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy unveiled federal legislation on Friday that would help streamline the college credit transfer process.

Darko Stojanovic / Creative Commons

For one year, journalist Karen Brown set out to learn why more young doctors aren't choosing primary care. Her findings are now the subject of a new documentary, “The Path to Primary Care: Who Will Be The Next Generation of Frontline Doctors?” 

This hour, Karen joins us along with some primary care professionals to weigh in on the latest trends, and to tell us what the future of primary care looks like both here in the northeast and across America.

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After a year in Connecticut, Uber says it made over $8 million in sales for its services in New Haven, Fairfield, and Hartford Counties.

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Connecticut motorists are paying about 13 cents a gallon more for gasoline this week than last, according to the weekly survey by AAA.

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The state has eliminated its sales tax on certain non-prescription medicines. The change will eliminate taxes on over-the-counter items like antacids, cough syrup, and pain medication. It also gets rid of the sales tax on dietary supplements and vitamins.

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There's a potential financial windfall waiting for thousands of Connecticut taxpayers. 

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Friday that he's learned there is $13.4 million worth of unclaimed tax refunds from 2011 owed to Connecticut taxpayers. 

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State Senate Democrats are hoping to place a limit on administrative costs at public colleges to help reduce the cost of tuition.

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Legislators heard hours of impassioned testimony from cab drivers and from drivers who work for ride sharing service Uber, as they wrestle with the issue of regulating new transportation offerings.

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This hour, we sink our teeth into, well, teeth! We find out why oral hygiene is so important to our health, and why Americans are so obsessed with straight, white smiles.

A little later, Canadian writer Michael Hingston tells us the fascinating history of the tooth fairy. 

Darko Stojanovic / Creative Commons

For one year, journalist Karen Brown set out to learn why more young doctors aren't choosing primary care. Her findings are now the subject of a new documentary, “The Path to Primary Care: Who Will Be The Next Generation of Frontline Doctors?” 

This hour, Karen joins us along with some primary care professionals to weigh in on the latest trends, and to tell us what the future of primary care looks like both here in the northeast and across America.

When admiring such enticing items at the grocery store as an avocado for $1.50, an $8 chocolate bar or fresh wild Alaskan salmon for $20 a pound, you've probably experienced sticker shock.

Indeed, retailers and restaurants offer myriad opportunities to blow your food budget in one fell swoop.

After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Kathy Hanlon's life crumbled. Her Long Beach, N.Y., home had no electricity, her family was traumatized and one of her sons was getting sick. On top of that, there was the bureaucratic maze of flood insurance.

"I cried many times because I was so angry when I got off the phone with the insurance company," Hanlon says. "It was demeaning. We had to send them things repeatedly. We had to wait for phone calls. We had to wait for people to come visit the house."

Anyone who has pulled up to a gas station this winter knows oil prices have fallen — down roughly 50 percent since June.

But it's not just oil. Prices for many commodities — grains, metals and other bulk products — have been plunging too.

Here are a few of the changes since many prices peaked in recent years:

- Copper is $2.59 a pound, down from $4.50 in 2011.

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Owners and managers of Connecticut car dealerships are urging state lawmakers to abandon legislation that would allow an electric car maker to sell vehicles directly to consumers.

About 70 auto dealers were at the state Capitol on Wednesday meeting with legislators to protest a bill benefiting Tesla Motors. Current state law prevents car manufacturers from selling their cars to consumers.

A bill before the legislature's Transportation Committee would make an exception for Tesla. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut’s Attorney General has joined with nine other states to ask health insurer Anthem to speed up its plan to protect consumers in the wake of what may be the nation’s biggest-ever data breach.

George Jepsen sent a letter to Anthem's CEO on behalf of attorneys general from Rhode Island, Maine, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and several other states, calling on Anthem to step up its response to its customers.

Eighty million people, including more than a million in Connecticut, may have been affected by the cyber hack, and Anthem initially said it will provide two years of credit monitoring for customers.

NPR and ProPublica have been reporting about nonprofit hospitals that seize the wages of lower-income and working-class patients. Now, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says hospitals could be breaking the law by suing these patients and docking their pay. And he wants some answers.

ISO-New England

New England's electricity grid operator said natural gas pipeline bottlenecks and retirement of aging power plants could put pressure on the price of energy.

Are you thinking about tax day yet? Your friendly neighborhood tax preparer is. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen declared this tax season one of the most complicated ever, partly because this is the first year that the Affordable Care Act will show up on your tax form.

Tax preparers from coast to coast are trying to get ready. Sue Ellen Smith manages an H&R Block office in San Francisco, and she is expecting things to get busy soon.

"This year taxes and health care intersect in a brand-new way," Smith says.

If you've traveled outside the U.S. recently, or sent your U.S.-made products abroad, you've probably noticed that the dollar is getting stronger. The stronger dollar is the sign of a healthier U.S. economy, but its strength has the potential to erode growth.

There are a number of factors behind the dollar's rise, says economist Jens Nordvig, a currency expert at Nomura Securities. The main one is the health of the U.S. economy.

UMass Amherst will replace its on-campus textbook store later this year with a virtual store operated by Amazon.

  Under a five-year contract Amazon will provide online textbook ordering through the UMass Amherst website, operate an on-campus pick up location and provide free delivery to off campus addresses in Amherst and five surrounding communities.  UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said the change is being made to save students money.

  "Up to about $380 annually per student based on national estimates of what students pay for books," said Blaguszewski.

This week, in the lead up to his State of the Union address, President Obama is talking about cybersecurity — how to ensure our safety in the digital world.

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Back in 2011, a few things changed for PURA, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Its staff was cut, and it developed a closer relationship with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Some of PURA's budget and its hiring authority shifted over to DEEP, and the move changed the way the board does its main job: reviewing the performance of power companies.

Online Security: A Battle You Just Can’t Win?

Jan 13, 2015
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The highly publicized hacking of Sony Pictures and Monday’s infiltration of Central Command’s Twitter account are just two of the most recent examples of Internet crime.

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For the past several years, I have taught an informal, one-credit seminar at The Hartt School called "Communicating With Your Audience."

Lucy Nalpathanchil

T-mobile customers may qualify for a refund after the cell phone company agreed to a $90 million dollar settlement over allegations of mobile cramming. The practice of "cramming" includes when third-party companies add bogus charges to monthly bills.

Keurig, the company that makes the popular single-serve coffee machines, is recalling 7 million Mini Plus Brewing Systems, with the model number K10 (previously identified as B31), the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today.

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Legislators and lobbyists are calling for the state's largest electric utility to lower its fixed residential charge with a new proposal that would set Connecticut Light and Power's fixed rate at $10.00 a month.

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