Thrusday, December 31, 1998


CG&E customers can unite to negotiate rates

        The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on Wednesday approved new tariffs that allow Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. residential and business customers to band together to negotiate lower electric rates.

        The so-called conjunctive electric service tariffs would allow residential buying pools of at least 100 members and no more than 2,000 to band together to negotiate lower rates. Business purchasing groups can consist of up to 1,000 participants, the PUCO said.

        The commission, which also approved similar tariffs for Dayton Power & Light Co., said the pilot programs would operate for two years.

        The commission approved guidelines for the conjunctive tariffs in 1996 and this year approved similar plans for customers of FirstEnergy Corp. in northern Ohio and Monongahela Power Co. in southeastern Ohio.

Stamp and coin shop files for bankruptcy
        Fountain Square Stamp & Coin Inc. filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Dec. 24 to liquidate assets of $212,265 in order to pay debts of $1.17 million.

        The landmark coin shop off a ground level arcade between Sixth Street and Fountain Square closed its doors in October when owner Mark Mendelson, 50, died from a blood clot that stopped his heart.

Meridian announces marketing of test
        Meridian Diagnostics Inc. said Wednesday that it has begun marketing its Premier Platinum HpSA stomach ulcer test through Quest Diagnostics Inc. of Teterboro, N.J..

        Cincinnati-based Meridian earlier this month received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to market the test, which can be used to detect H. pylori — the bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers.

        The test will be supplied through Quest to physicians, hospitals, managed care organizations, employers and government agencies.

Schottenstein acquires Crowley, Milner stores
        Schottenstein Stores Corp. of Columbus has acquired controlling interest in Crowley, Milner & Co., a department store chain with deep roots in Detroit. Crowley's leaders have resigned.

        Crowley, with nine stores in Michigan and 16 stores under the Steinbach name in other states, lost $6.2 million in the first nine months of 1998 on sales of $124 million.

        Schottenstein had owned 33 percent of Crowley. It gained an additional 20 percent in a stock swap whereby heirs of the Crowley founders were given 25,000 shares of Value City stock in return for 300,000 Crowley shares.

        A new board of directors hired Lance P. Wimmer, a Texas retail management specialist, to serve as CEO and come up with a restructuring plan. Mr. Wimmer did not know whether stores would be closed or whether any of the company's 1,100 employees would face dismissal.

Dayton Power & Light suing 11 municipalities
        Dayton Power & Light Co. is suing 11 Ohio municipalities that operate electric utilities, accusing them of breaking a commitment they made in contracts to buy power from DP&L.

        The Dayton utility sued this week in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. The lawsuit says the 11 towns and villages failed to honor a contract obligation to give at least six months' notice of plans to buy “firm” power — electricity sold to them at a fixed contract rate — from DP&L.


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