ALBANY, N.Y. — Elected officials, consumer advocates and regulators in 18 states are pushing for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure that utility customers see a reduction in their bills thanks to windfalls utilities will reap from corporate tax cuts included in the federal tax overhaul.In a letter sent to the commission on Tuesday, the coalition called for an investigation into the “justness and reasonableness” of utility rates now that the tax cuts approved by Congress last month reduce the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.The attorneys general from 12 states signed the letter: New York, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia. Public consumer advocacy offices and state regulatory agencies from Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont also are involved.While a typical household may see its monthly utility bills reduced by just a few dollars, the overall savings across the nation could be significant.“Consumers at some point should expect to see some reduction,” in their monthly bills, said David Springe, executive director of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, a Silver Spring, Maryland-based advocacy group that supports the states’ efforts.
If you’re anything like the staff at Geek.com, you’re sitting at your computer right now willing the clock to reach midnight as fast as possible so you can start playing Bioshock Infinite. If you’re really feeling the urge bad, there’s a way you could start playing the game right this minute.Steam may let you play some games before they are finished, but huge titles like Bioshock Infinite are going to make you wait right up to the final second. Like most games released through Steam, Bioshock Infinite allows you to preload the game before it is available. Basically, once you purchase the game, you install it through Steam and when the clock strikes midnight of the launch day you’re free to play. This isn’t totally uncommon, but what sets Steam apart from most other games is that midnight is entirely dependent on your location.Yes, that means that there are people in the world playing Bioshock Infinite right now, drooling all over the game hours before you are allows to hit the play button. Unless, of course, you take matters into your own hands.Like any web-connected service, Steam uses the information provided by your system and your ISP to determine things like time and geographic location. It’s why you can’t use the UK version of BBC iPlayer to watch Doctor Who and why at midnight tonight Steam will flip a switch and you’ll be able to play a night’s worth of SkyoShock. In order to usurp these location based limitations, all you need to do is use a VPN that will offer these applications a location that they will consider acceptable.Some users, currently playing the new game while you sit here reading this article, used a service called incloak to convince Steam that they were in New Zealand, where it is currently past midnight. If you use the trial code on their website, you can use their VPN service free for one day, and that happens to be exactly how long you need this little trick to work. Of course, it probably wouldn’t hurt if you bought a subscription from them, so you’ve got it all ready for the next big Steam release.We’ve not tested this ourselves — our Steam accounts are too sacred to us — so take every precaution if you decide to take an internet vacation to a land where it is already after midnight. It’s unlikely that Steam has anything setup to efficiently detect this sort of thing, but I would imagine there would be consequences. If you’ve just got to have the game right now, however, this method is clearly working for several people.