The Norman Transcript

June 30, 2013

Business briefs

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — U.S. Cellular launches home phone service

U.S. Cellular has launched its U.S. Cellular Home Phone service in stores and online. For $19.99 per month, customers can get unlimited nationwide calling over the U.S. Cellular wireless network using standard corded or cordless phones in their homes or offices.

The unlimited plan also includes voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding and three-way calling. The home phone device is a penny in store with a new two-year agreement. U.S. Cellular Home Phone users can keep their current home phone and phone number and receive high-quality and clear voice service. It also can be added to wireless bills.

Moratorium enacted for construction permits

At the June 17 meeting, the Moore City Council — to protect the health, safety and welfare of those in and around the storm affected areas — imposed a temporary 14-day moratorium on any building permits or development that require major reconstruction or complete new construction on existing lots in the tornado-damaged areas.

The moratorium does not apply to building permits for minor repairs. The Moore City Council will consider criteria for storm-related reconstruction at the next regular meeting July 1. At that time, the temporary moratorium will be re-evaluated.

OK Builders helping survivors and other builders

The limited number of reliable subcontractors in tornado-affected areas is making recovery harder and slower for builders.

Mike Means, executive vice president of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, said local builder associations want to facilitate the process. OSHBA has assembled a list of member builders who are qualified to help in the rebuilding efforts and can bring crews and materials into affected areas.

The list includes and identifies Certified Professional Builders and other member builders from around the state. There is no licensing of builders in this state. The CPB designation ensures that a builder has workers’ comp and liability insurance, is financially stable for a specified number of years, has earned the required number of continuing education credits and has agreed to an ethics code.

SmartHours program helps customers save

OG&E SmartHours pricing program allows customers to save when energy costs are lower or off peak. Last summer, 99 percent of SmartHours customers saved money. Oklahoma residential customers saved an average of $200.

During the months of June through September, peak hours are 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Pricing during those times are based on energy demand, ranging from 5 cents to up to 44 cents per kilowatt hour. All other times of the day customers pay 5 cents per kilowatt hour. Customers receive advance notice of the next day’s peak price. Customers not on the SmartHours program pay 10 cents per kilowatt hour during the summer.

The program also includes a free programmable thermostat for qualifying customers to help automate savings by reacting to price signals from the smart meter. Customers can set the thermostat based on their preferences: comfort, balance or savings.

OG&E’s analysis from last year showed that customers with the programmable thermostat realized the most savings, about 20 percent more.