In the Region BGE says PSC has no need to investigate...

BUSINESS DIGEST

September 27, 2001

In the Region

BGE says PSC has no need to investigate speedy utility cutoffs

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. filed a motion with the Maryland Public Service Commission yesterday to dismiss the People's Counsel's request to investigate the utility's credit and collection practices amid claims that BGE improperly sped service shut-offs last winter and denied help to low-income customers.

The People's Counsel, who represents the public before the commission, failed to provide any evidence showing that BGE discriminated against low-income customers last winter when more than 22,700 residential customers - including about 2,000 low-income customers who qualified for state energy assistance - were cut off from April to June, BGE said in its motion.

The PSC wants to resolve the case by Nov. 1 before the heating season begins.

Southwest defers delivery of 11 new Boeing aircraft

Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines said yesterday that it had deferred 11 aircraft deliveries from Boeing Co. that had been scheduled for this year because of the slowdown in traffic after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

The largest carrier at Baltimore-Washington International Airport said it will take no new aircraft into its fleet this year and will defer 11 orders for Boeing 737-700 aircraft as passenger traffic remains light.

Southwest said it was too early to tell whether the slowdown would affect the 27 deliveries the carrier has scheduled with Boeing for 2002.

Conquest hires Baltimore PR firm

Warschawski Public Relations says it has been hired by systems and software provider Conquest Inc. to build the tech firm's corporate reputation, and handle its marketing and public relations.

Conquest, based in Annapolis Junction, anticipates revenue of $20 million this year and recently won a five-year contract worth up to $75 million contract to provide systems engineering and technical assistance support to a U.S. intelligence agency .

Billings for the new account were not disclosed by the Baltimore PR firm.

Ellicott City marketer hired to reduce smoking

A coalition of New Jersey colleges and universities has hired Frank & Associates Inc. to develop a marketing communications campaign to reduce smoking on campuses and prevent students from using tobacco products.

The campaign for the New Jersey Higher Education Consortium is designed to correct student misperceptions that smoking is a normal or expected part of campus life. Frank & Associates, of Ellicott City, did not disclose billings.

Elsewhere

GM agrees to pay $1.25 million to settle race, sex bias suit

General Motors agreed yesterday to pay $1.25 million to 16 employees at a New Jersey assembly plant who sued the auto maker over alleged racial and sexual harassment, including one incident in which a hangman's noose was left over a table in a lunchroom used mainly by black employees.

The employees are from the Linden, N.J., plant, where 35 percent of the 2,453 hourly and salaried workers are minorities. Two supervisors were removed once the allegations of inappropriate contact were revealed, GM said.

Under a consent decree, GM denied wrongdoing but agreed to strengthen its complaint procedures.

Retirement to solidify Chase's hold on bank firm

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Inc. said yesterday that Chairman Douglas "Sandy" Warner would retire by year-end and turn that job over to President and Chief Executive William Harrison Jr., cementing Chase Manhattan's control of the No. 2 U.S. bank holding company.

Warner, 55, who led J.P. Morgan & Co. before Chase Manhattan bought the bank last year, has been chairman of the combined company since the merger. Harrison, 58, a quiet but firm-spoken deal maker from North Carolina, ran Chase before the deal.

Executives from the former Chase Manhattan hold many of the top jobs at the new bank, although J.P. Morgan managers retain leadership roles in investment banking and other areas where that company was strong.

Boeing slates first layoff of 10,000 in holiday season

About 10,000 Boeing Co. workers will be laid off by the end of December as the world's biggest plane maker begins to cut up to 30,000 jobs by the end of 2002, the company said yesterday.

The first layoffs will be at Boeing's commercial jet unit, driven by slumping sales to airlines that are hemorrhaging cash after the Sept. 11 hijack attacks.

Boeing said it will lay off another 10,000 workers by the middle of next year, and the final 10,000 will be laid off by the end of 2002.

Verizon wins right to sell long-distance in Pa.

In a quick 4-0 vote, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission gave Verizon Communications Inc. final approval yesterday to begin selling long-distance services there.

The ruling means that Verizon - the state's largest provider of local telephone service with 6.5 million residential and business lines - could enter Pennsylvania's long-distance market as soon as tomorrow, though the company said it probably will be a few weeks before it will be ready to begin the service.

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