May 15, 2008 in Business

Business in brief: Itron lands big meter contract

The Spokesman-Review

A major Texas electric utility has signed a deal to start using advanced metering systems developed by Liberty Lake-based Itron Inc.

CenterPoint Energy Inc., based in Houston, has agreed to use Itron’s OpenWay, smart-metering technology that manages information about energy consumption.

No contract terms were released. The proposal must be approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

The deal would result in CenterPoint Energy installing up to 250,000 OpenWay “advance metering infrastructure” meters beginning in the second half of 2009. The contract says CenterPoint Energy could eventually purchase as many as 2 million meters.

– Tom Sowa


Times share may be sold

The head of the newspaper chain that has a 49.5 percent interest in the Seattle Times Co. said he’s willing to sell McClatchy’s share.

“Long-term, we would be open to selling,” McClatchy President and Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said in response to a shareholder’s question at the company’s annual meeting Tuesday in Sacramento, Calif. Pruitt said he had communicated McClatchy’s willingness to sell to the Blethen family, which controls 50.5 percent.

McClatchy spokeswoman Elaine Lintecum said the most important phrase in Pruitt’s comment was “long-term.” The company has not put its stake in the Times on the market.

Newspaper analyst John Morton of Silver Springs, Md., told the Seattle Times that he’s not sure if anyone would be interested in buying the Times other than the Blethen family, “and I’m not sure they have the money.”

Times spokeswoman Corey Digiacinto said Pruitt’s remarks “aren’t a reflection of any change.” She declined further comment.

– Associated Press


Recyclers pay storage fine

A Seattle-based recycling company that stored hazardous waste in Montana without a permit has paid a $67,500 state penalty, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality said Wednesday.

Emerald Services was penalized for storing waste in Missoula and Helena well beyond the 10 days allowed without a storage permit.

Paint waste that Emerald Services received in the summer of 2006 was stored at the company’s Missoula site for about six months, then was moved to Helena and held there for a little over two months, the DEQ said. The agency learned of the violation during an inspection in March 2007, said John Arrigo, a DEQ administrator.

– Associated Press

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