UTILITIES

PUCO fines Columbia Gas

over 2017 Avon house fire

Columbia Gas of Ohio was fined $400,000 Wednesday for a 2017 house fire in Northeast Ohio caused by an excavating company installing a water line that struck an unmarked gas line.

Columbia Gas records didn't identify the line, and when Columbia workers responded to the fire, they were unable to find the line that was feeding the fire, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio said in its decision.

Columbia said it has taken a number of steps to prevent similar accidents, including accelerating a program to identify gas lines.

The house fire on Aug. 2, 2017, in Avon, west of Cleveland, caused $83,000 in damage, according to the PUCO.

ECONOMY

Federal Reserve set to end

portfolio-trimming strategy

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that the Fed is close to announcing a plan to end the reduction of the size of its massive bond portfolio, which looks likely by the end of the year.

Powell delivered the remarks during his semiannual monetary report to Congress.

The central bank boosted its holdings by more than four-fold in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession, in an effort to lower long-term interest rates as it looked for unconventional ways to boost economic growth. The Fed's balance sheet hit a record high of $4.5 trillion before it began trimming the size of its holdings in October 2017.

TECHNOLOGY

Video-sharing app operator

agrees to $5.7 million fine

The operator of a video-sharing app popular with teenagers agreed to pay $5.7 million to settle federal allegations it illegally collected personal information from children.

The Federal Trade Commission said the Wednesday penalty against lip-syncing app Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, is the largest ever obtained in a children's privacy case.

The FTC said the app violated the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires kid-oriented websites to get parents' consent before collecting personal information from children under 13.

AUTOS

Volvo prepares to unveil

compact to rival Tesla

Volvo's electric performance brand Polestar is unveiling a battery-powered compact car touted as a rival to Tesla's Model 3.

The Polestar 2 is a five-door vehicle with a panoramic glass roof, an all-vegan interior and a battery with enough capacity to drive 275 miles under U.S. testing rules for range measurement.

With 408 horsepower, it should accelerate from zero to 62 miles per hour in under five seconds. Polestar said Wednesday the car's U.S. price for the launch version will be $55,500 after tax incentives; later a lower-priced version with less range is envisioned.

The car, to be shown at next month's Geneva auto show, becomes available in 2020.