Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Forest City's Electricity Scam

Forest City runs the base housing for the Hawaii area.  Unless you are in a historic home (which has it's own set of problems) you are metered for electricity.  The way it works is simple:

- Each month your electrical usage is compared to homes similar to yours (a.k.a. Like Type Groups)
- The highest and lowest usages are dropped, and everyone else is averaged
- If you are within ten percent of the average, you don't pay a bill
- If you are over, you pay the difference; under, you get a check

The system works OK because homes aren't normally empty (so not too many low numbers to bring down the average) and the math is understandable.  All the homes have programmable air conditioning units and fans, so you can slowly program your way into comfortably not paying a bill.

Then I received this email:

Dear Forest City Resident Participating in the RECP Pilot Test Program,

I wanted to update you on the pilot test program.

1.  This month (on or about 15 August), you will receive two versions of your July RECP bill in the same envelope from YES Energy.

      a.  One bill will be your typical "LIVE" bill that provides your July usage information along with your billing status.  Please take appropriate action as needed regarding this bill.

      b.  The second bill with the "MOCK BILL" watermark provides your July usage information calculated using the test program methodology, along with the resultant billing status.  This bill is provided for your information and familiarity.  You will receive a simultaneous MOCK bill for three more months, until your November bill implements the test methodology and becomes your LIVE bill.

2.   As a reminder, the test methodology includes the following changes:

      a.  The monthly average for your Like-type Group (LTG) is determined by incorporating historical data from the previous year, plus and minus one month, e.g., calculating July 2015 average by using data from July 2015, June 2014, July 2014, and August 2014.

      b.  The buffer range will be calculated in two methods described below; and the highest buffer created by either method will apply and the lowest buffer created by either method will apply:

            1) The "ten percent" range will be calculated by sorting the consumption of the like- type group, including historical usage, highest to lowest. Then remove the highest and lowest consumption points. Of the remaining consumption numbers, calculate the average of all the data points. From that average, add ten percent and subtract ten percent to derive the upper and lower ten percent buffer limits.
            2) The "middle third" buffer range will be calculated by sorting the consumption of the like-type group, including historical usage, highest to lowest   Then remove the highest and lowest consumption points.  Of the remaining consumption numbers, determine the upper and lower buffer limits by utilizing the consumption values at both the 66.666 percentile and the 33.333 percentile, respectively.

3.  The MOCK bill provides my contact information.  I am ready to answer any questions you may have.  General rule: if incorporating your LTG's historical data results in the MOCK bill monthly average usage being higher than your LIVE bill average, your billing status in your MOCK bill will be better than in your LIVE bill.  If incorporating historical data results in the MOCK bill average being lower, your billing status in your MOCK bill will be lesser to your advantage than in your LIVE bill.

4.  When residents access the online resident portal, only LIVE billing information will be available (MOCK projections/bills will not be available online).

5.  Attached is (1) the 1 June 2015 CNRH letter sent to each resident, (2) the briefing presented at community meetings held in June 2015, and (3) a questionnaire to allow you to provide us feedback throughout the test period.

Please don't hesitate to contact me at any time if you have questions.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Upcoming Navy Uniform Changes

 From one of our weekly staff emails, upcoming changes to Navy Uniforms:

-In alignment with the value Navy places on command, flag officers who have earned Command At Sea or Command Ashore pins are authorized to wear the insignia in the post-command manner (left side). If both pins have been earned, the insignia of choice (but only one) may be worn. The prohibition of earning a command pin as a flag officer remains in effect.

-Wear of the knit watch cap will expand to allow wear by all Sailors in cold weather environments in working, service and dress uniforms when wearing a bridge coat, reefer (officers and chief petty officers (CPOs)), pea coat (E6 and below), cold weather parka, Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type 1 Parka or all weather coat. The knit cap cannot be worn with the Eisenhower jacket since it is not considered cold weather outerwear.

Monday, August 24, 2015

What you may have missed in the Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy

At first glance, the recently released Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy looks like a rehash of a lot of old points about the US' position on Pacific matters.  But upon closer examination, there is a key shift in language that those of us who watch the region will take note of.  Here are ten things you might have missed (with accompanying memes):

1. It calls out the Senate directly on UNCLOS, but doesn't address ISA.
Normally DoD publications don't delve too much into policy matters with Congress.  But it's hard to say that about this statement:

"This is why the United States operates consistent with – even though the U.S. Senate has yet to provide its advice and consent – the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea"

UNCLOS was originally opposed due to the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which does such un-American things like taxing sea bed mining for distribution to other countries and mandating technology transfer.  The military normally focuses on the navigation portion of UNCLOS, which it has abided by since the Regan era.  The problem comes when the US is encouraging nations to use UNCLOS while not actually having ratified the treaty.  There isn't an easy solution, short of removing the ISA from UNCLOS, but expect to see UNCLOS ratification cries in the near future.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hertog Parting Thoughts

After ten days of briefings, war gaming and few late nights of discussion, what did I end up learning out of the Hertog Summer Study?  Quite a lot actually.

1. Nuclear weapons matter, and we need to reconsider our strategy. 

The U.S. light aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVL-22) afire aft, soon after the "Able Day" atomic bomb air burst test at Bikini on 1 July 1946. From Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hertog Summer Study: Game B Summary

I've summed up Game A of the Hertog Summer Study as well as I could without going into boring details.  Game B had a different dynamic altogether. 

First, China came out and laid claim to the South China Sea.  They attempted to sweet talk me since I only had Natuna Besar, but wouldn't guarantee my EEZ claim against their 9 dash line.  I don't like that, and I don't like Philippines or Malaysia being threatened.
If you treat me poorly, don't be surprised when I fight back. Image from Wikipedia
The US was happy to help, but didn't have a lot of cash, and like the other game they were still a little unengaged.  Plus the PRC began building ASAT missiles, threatening the US' space dominance in the region.  During the first turn, Philippines and I kicked in enough cash to start our own space program.  By 2020, the SCS looks very unified against the PRC.