Business news briefs: Duquesne Light aims to raise revenue with higher rates

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Duquesne Light aims to raise revenue with higher rates

Duquesne Light Co. is seeking to increase customer rates in order to cover the cost of its distribution infrastructure upgrades, a new customer information system and protection against cyberattacks. The utility is looking to raise revenue by $76.3 million, or 11.3 percent, which amounts to an $8 a month increase for the average residential consumer. After the increase, an average monthly bill is expected to be $86. The rate increase must be approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. That may push back the date when rates would rise to May 1, 2014.

Parcel could be removed for South Side apartment

A plan has been advanced to remove a property from the SouthSide Works tax increment financing district on the South Side to help pave the way for construction of a 173-unit apartment building at the site. Legislation introduced before city council Monday would revise the TIF district by removing development parcel E1b at 2900 Sidney Street from its boundaries. Oxford Development Co. is requesting the change so that it can seek real estate tax exemptions from the city, Allegheny County and Pittsburgh Schools for the proposed apartment complex at the site under the state's Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act. Projects located within TIF districts do not qualify for such exemptions.

Price of regular unleaded gas down a penny in 'Burgh

The average price per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Pittsburgh fell by a penny over the past week to $3.68, according to GasBuddy.com. That's above the national average of $3.63, which also decreased slightly over the past week.

Robinson zinc producer posts second-quarter loss

Horsehead Holding Corp. lost $800,000, or 2 cents per share, in the second quarter, compared to a net loss of $1.7 million, or 4 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Sales of $110.5 million were down from $117.5 million. The Robinson zinc producer said it is making progress on starting up a new Mooresboro, N.C., plant that will replace its zinc smelting and refining operations in Monaca. The Monaca plant is beginning to see workers leave for other jobs, but the company said it plans to keep its six-furnace operation online as long as possible until the shutdown.

Strong sales, new orders fuel service firms expansion

U.S. service firms expanded in July at the fastest pace since February, fueled by a brisker month of sales and a jump in new orders. The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of nonmanufacturing-sector growth rose in July to 56.0, up from 52.2 in June. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Bayer gives about $1.5M so far in '13 grant funds

Bayer USA Foundation said it awarded nearly $1.5 million in grants in the first half of 2013 including about $500,000 in new funding and about $1 million for ongoing grant commitments. Among the grant recipients in Pittsburgh are the Hill House Association for an after-school program that will focus on science, technology, engineering and math for grades K-5; Pittsburgh Cares to support its Community Connections program for volunteerism; and RiverQuest for student and teacher camps and programs involving sustainability and environmental science.

American Eagle Outfitters lowers earnings forecast

The summer is not off to a great start for American Eagle Outfitters Inc., which Monday revised its second quarter earnings-per-share projections to approximately 10 cents, which compares to earnings per share from continuing operations of 21 cents during the same period a year ago. Analysts had been looking for 21 cents a share this year as well. The South Side-based teen clothing retailer said total net revenue fell 2 percent in the quarter, while sales at stores open at least a year dropped 7 percent. The company said its women's line had not done well and store traffic was down. Faced with lots of competitors offering deals, American Eagle increased markdowns.

McKee Foods Corp. plans to bring back snack cakes

Twinkies are already back on shelves, and now the new owners of Drake's cakes say Devil Dogs and Ring Dings are on their way. A spokesman for McKee Foods Corp., which makes Little Debbie snack cakes, said the company plans to bring back the snack cakes in the third week of September.

Also in business...

Calgon Carbon Corp. has added John J. Paro to its board of directors. Mr. Paro is chairman, president and CEO of the HallStar Co., a privately held specialty chemical company based in Chicago, and serves on the board of the American Chemistry Council. ... Lego on Monday confirmed it will launch a special series themed on "The Simpsons" in 2014.

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