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Business Briefs

For Tuesday, May 17, 2011

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 10:16 p.m. HST, May 20, 2011


Bad weather hurts Lowe’s

NEW YORK >> Lowe’s Cos., the nation’s No. 2 home improvement retailer, said yesterday its profit fell 6 percent in the first quarter as the bad weather that plagued much of the country kept customers away from their gardens and other outdoor projects. For the three-month period ended April 29, net income declined to $461 million from $489 million. Revenue dipped 2 percent to $12.19 billion as sales of outdoor items fell.

HECO residential rates on the rise

Residential electricity rates on Oahu rose to the highest level in 2 1⁄2 years in May as rising fuel prices pushed up generation costs for Hawaiian Electric Co.

Rates on Maui and Hawaii island also increased.

HECO said a typical 600-kilowatt-hour bill rose to $188.88 in May from $181.44 in April.The last time Oahu electric bills were this high was in November 2008 when a 600-kilowatt bill was $182.01.

Crude oil futures were $115 a barrel on May 1, about 35 percent higher than they were six months earlier. Crude oil futures traded at a record $147 a barrel in the summer of 2008.

The effective rate for electricity in Honolulu is 30.1 cents per kilowatt-hour in May, up from 28.9 cents last month.

Elsewhere in the state:

» Maui Electric Co. customers saw rates rise to 35.9 cents per kilowatt-hour this month from April's 34.1 cents. The typical Maui bill rose by $10.68 to $223.21.

» Hawaii island residential rates rose to 42.40 cents a kilowatt-hour from last month's 38.2 cents. The typical bill rose by $25.55 to $265.96.

» On Kauai the rate rose to 44.27 cents per kilowatt-hour. Last month the rate charged by the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative was 42.63 cents per kilowatt-hour.

More employers line up for job fair

The WorkForce Job Fair at Blaisdell Center Wednesday will feature recruiters from more than 160 employers, including Disney's Aulani Resort & Spa.

The number of companies and organizations with booths is about 25 percent more than at the last job fair in January, indicating that businesses are looking to expand their payrolls as the economy continues to improve.

"It's exciting to see companies starting to hire again," said Beth Busch, executive director of the WorkForce Job Fair.

In addition to the 800 employees Disney is hiring for the Aug. 29 opening of its resort, a Disney subcontractor is looking to hire an additional 100 lifeguards for the 21-acre property at the Ko Olina resort in West Oahu.

The job fair runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is $3, and students, military and seniors with identification will be admitted for $1.

Organizers say job seekers should dress appropriately for a job interview and bring multiple copies of their resume. For more information or to pre-register, visit www.successhi.com.

Lanai group denied role in wind project

The state Public Utilities Commission has denied a request by a Lanai-based community group to intervene in the decision-making process involving large-scale wind energy projects on Lanai and Molokai.

The PUC said the request by Friends of Lanai was "untimely" because it was made too long after the deadline for filing motions to intervene in the docket, which was opened in November 2009.

In its request to intervene, Friends of Lanai argued the deadline was no longer valid because recent developments had significantly changed the scope of the case. One of the companies that had planned to develop a 200-megawatt wind project on Molokai was forced to drop out after it missed a key deadline to provide a progress update on its plans.

A second company, Castle & Cooke, met the deadline to submit its plans for a 200-megawatt wind project on Lanai.

In addition to asking permission to intervene in the case, Friends of Lanai also asked the PUC to reopen the competitive bidding process for the so-called Big Wind project.

The PUC, however, rejected the Friends of Lanai on both counts.

On the Move

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has announced Lina Yi is a Realtor associate at the Kahala office. She was previously a Realtor associate at Prudential Locations.

***

Maui Divers Jewelry has named Robert Balagtas as vice president of retail operations. He will oversee the company’s 56 concept locations in Hawaii, California and Guam. Balagtas has 21 years of retail management experience, including as store manager for Victoria’s Secret at Ala Moana Center, general manager of Niketown in Honolulu for 11 years, as well as in management positions with DFS, Coach, Burberry, Calvin Klein and GICC Pro Golf.

***

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, had awarded Helber Hastert & Fee a $10 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity architect-engineer services contract. Funds will be used for environmental planning services for projects and activities at various Marine Corps and Navy activities in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Basin areas.






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