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Business briefs

For Tuesday, January 11, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

POSTED:


Volt wins car of year

DETROIT » The 2011 Chevrolet Volt got another marketing jolt yesterday when it received the North American Car of the Year. The car that runs on electricity for 40 miles before a backup gas engine kicks in beat out the Nissan Leaf, another electric, and Hyundai Sonata in the annual ceremony on the first day of media previews for the Detroit auto show. The Ford Explorer won the truck of the year for the third year in a row.

Electric bills on Oahu to jump 4.6%

Hawaiian Electric Co. said higher oil prices pushed the typical 600-kilowatt-hour bill for Oahu residential customers up 4.6 percent to $165.51 in January from $158.26 in December.

The effective rate for electricity on Oahu is 26.06 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared with 24.85 cents per kilowatt-hour in December.

Elsewhere in the state:

» Rates for Maui customers rose to 32.23 cents per kilowatt-hour from December's 30.56 cents. The typical Maui bill rose to $201.87 from $191.87.

» Big Island residential rates rose to 35.87 cents per kilowatt-hour from last month's 35.19 cents. The typical bill rose to $226.27 from $222.24.

» On Kauai the rate rose to 37.94 cents per kilowatt-hour from 36.94 cents per kilowatt-hour in December.

HEI stock falls after takeover talk

Shares of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. closed down 35 cents to $24.41 yesterday after jumping briefly last week on news that a group of investors was considering buying the company and taking it private.

A group operating under the name Kuokoa announced Thursday that the group was moving forward with plans to acquire HEI and accelerate its transition into renewable energy. The group includes Ted Peck, the state's recently departed energy administrator, and former motivational speaker Roald Marth.

HEI's stock opened at $23.87 a share Friday and quickly soared to $26.40 on the news, an increase of $2.53, or 10.6 percent.

The shares began giving up the gains after analysts expressed skepticism about the plan, finishing the day up 89 cents, or 3.7 percent.

A spokesman for HEI said Friday that the company was contacted for the first time via e-mail Thursday night but has had no discussions.

American sues Sabre in listings feud

DALLAS » American Airlines is suing Sabre to stop the company from downplaying American flights in displays that it provides to travel agents.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday in state court in Fort Worth, Texas, American said it could lose "countless sales" if Sabre is allowed to favor listings of other airlines in data searches.

It's the latest blow in an escalating fight over how airline tickets are sold.

American, a unit of AMR Corp., wants to force travel agents to get information about flights and fares straight from the airline to reduce its middleman costs. American also thinks it could sell more add-ons such as upgrades and in-flight Internet access if it provided flight information directly to travel agents.

As the rift has grown, online travel agencies Orbitz and Expedia have stopped displaying American flights, forcing consumers to visit other websites to buy American tickets.

Sabre Holdings Corp. joined the fight last week by making it harder for travel agents to find information about American flights and raising fees that it charges American. Sabre also plans to end a contract with American in August.

On the Move

Waikiki Aquarium has named James B. Wood as associate director and director of education. He has more than 10 years of experience in the field, including serving as director of education for Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif.

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T-Mobile has opened two new stores called Playground Stores, located in Pearl Highlands Shopping Center and the Mililani Shopping Center. These stores are designed for people to explore with various tablets, phones and computers stationed around the store.

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Kevin Cockett launched Cockett Communications at the beginning of the year. He was previously a senior vice president for Communications Pacific for five years.

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The Hawaii chapter of the National Association of Catering Executives has announced the following: Josette Murai, president, Amy Dempsey, first vice president, and Toni Takata, second vice president.

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Baldridge & Associates Structural Engineering Inc. has announced Yuriy Mikhaylov as its structural designer. He was previously employed at Park Engineering in Honolulu for three years.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Label has been awarded to the management team at Pacific Guardian Center for having the highest posible score of 100 on the Energy Performance Indicator for 2010.






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