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Business in brief: Itron to sell meters to Caribbean utility

Fri., Sept. 28, 2007

Itron Inc. will provide 400,000 electricity meters to a utility serving two southern Caribbean islands, the company announced Thursday.

The Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission will install the meters over 20 months, allowing it to read meters remotely and ensure bills are based on actual reads instead of estimations, according to an Itron news release. Itron claims the deal will “deliver the largest and most comprehensive advanced metering system in that region of the world.”

The 61-year-old commission serves more than 384,000 customers, managing the power supply for all of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, which lies northeast of Venezuela.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Buckhorn mine gets wastewater permit

The proposed Buckhorn gold mine in Okanogan County has received a permit that would allow the mine to discharge treated wastewater and storm water runoff into settling ponds.

The permit, issued Thursday by the state Department of Ecology, is one of the final permitting hurdles for the underground gold mine, said Lauren Roberts, vice president and general manager of Kinross Gold Corp.’s Kettle River operations.

The proposed Buckhorn Mine contains 1 million ounces of gold, which would be extracted over 7 ½ years. The mine site is located near Chesaw, Wash., close to the Canadian border.

More than half of the Buckhorn Mine’s facilities have been constructed, but the opening of the mine is “a little difficult to pin down,” Roberts said. That’s because the mine’s environmental impact statement, prepared by the Forest Service, is being challenged in court by the Okanogan Highlands Alliance.

The mine is expected to employ 168 workers when it’s in full production, Roberts said.


Google’s purchase of company fought

Google Inc.’s proposed $3.1 billion acquisition of online advertising firm DoubleClick Inc. raises significant antitrust and privacy concerns, a Microsoft Corp. executive told senators Thursday.

Microsoft has opposed the Google-DoubleClick deal since it was announced in April. The software giant sought to acquire DoubleClick, a New York-based online advertising company, but lost out to Google.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, said in prepared testimony to a Senate panel that the transaction would enable Google to “become the overwhelmingly dominant pipeline for all forms of online advertising.” The deal raises privacy issues as well, Smith said, because it would give Google “sole control over the largest database of user information the world has ever known.”

Microsoft itself remains subject to the terms of a five-year antitrust settlement it reached with the U.S. government in 2002, and the company also lost its appeal of a European Union antitrust case earlier this month.


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