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Business news briefs — Dec. 4

UTILITIES

Natural-gas price increases

The monthly natural-gas price for residential customers who have chosen Dominion’s Standard Choice Offer (SCO), or those who don’t choose their own supplier, will go up in December. Effective Dec. 11, the identical Standard Choice Offer and Standard Service Offer (SSO) rate is being rounded to $4.42 per thousand cubic feet (mcf).

The price is 32 cents/mcf, or 7.8 cents, higher than the November rate of $4.10/mcf. It is 12 cents/mcf, or 2.7 percent, higher than the price a year ago.

Even with the slight increase, the average SCO/SSO residential customer’s bill for the month of December 2013 would be $103.44. That is down $11.52, or 10 percent, from $114.96 in December 2012.

The monthly price is going down, even though the gas price is higher because usage-based charges for delivery are lower this year, in part due to lower gas prices.

Residential customers pay the same usage-based charges to deliver gas to a residence and $22.01 monthly service fee whether they choose a supplier or stay with Dominion.

GOP proposal supported

Ohio’s oil and gas industry says it supports newly introduced tax changes that include a rate hike on horizontally drilled shale wells in a compromise struck with the Ohio House.

The industry balked at an earlier proposal by Republican Gov. John Kasich to raise severance taxes on drillers and use the proceeds to deliver modest income tax relief to Ohioans.

Wednesday, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association threw its support behind an alternative proposal from House Speaker William Batchelder and other members of his Republican caucus.

Batchelder. R-Medina, said the bill is carefully constructed to encourage gas exploration, environmental protection and regulatory reform.

The measure would raise the severance tax rate on horizontally drilled wells by 1 percent, then 2 percent, while rolling back similar taxes on traditional wells.

LEGAL

Snag on traffic ticket

A California woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday to what is believed to be the first traffic citation alleging a motorist was using Google’s computer-in-an-eyeglass.

The device, known as Google Glass, features a thumbnail-size transparent display above the right eye.

The technology will not be made widely available to the public until 2014, but defendant Cecilia Abadie was one of about 10,000 “explorers” who received the glasses earlier this year as part of a tryout.

Her case touches several hot-button issues, including distracted driving, wearable technology that will one day become mainstream, and how laws often lag technological developments.

Abadie was pulled over in October on suspicion of going 80 mph in a 65 mph zone on a San Diego freeway. The California Highway Patrol officer saw she was wearing Google Glass and tacked on a citation usually given to people driving while a video or TV screen is on in the front of their vehicle.

Fifth Third pays penalty

Fifth Third Bancorp will pay $6.5 million to settle charges of improper accounting of commercial real estate loans during the financial crisis.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement that also includes penalties for the bank’s former chief financial officer.

Cincinnati-based Fifth Third said last month it had reached a tentative agreement without admitting or denying the allegations. The bank said Nov. 5 that in connection with the proposed settlement Daniel Poston was replaced as chief financial officer and was named chief strategy and administrative officer. Fifth Third said Poston didn’t admit or deny the SEC allegations.

The SEC said Poston must pay $100,000 and is suspended from practicing before the SEC as an accountant. He can apply for reinstatement after a year.

WALL STREET

Dow falls almost 25 points

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 24.85 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,889.77. The S&P 500 index fell 2.34 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,792.81. The Nasdaq composite edged up 0.80 point to 4,038.

As stocks slumped, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to its highest level in more than two months. The yield on the 10-year note climbed to 2.84 percent from 2.78 percent on Tuesday, resuming its upward trajectory.

Compiled from staff and wire reports




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