SC business notebook, Nov. 27

SCE&G seeks to end program that levels out bills

South Carolina Electric & Gas announced Tuesday that it has filed a joint petition with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina seeking permission to stop its weather normalization program. The Cayce-based energy giant had been charging customers under an extremely complicated formula in an attempt to level out bills throughout the year despite extremes in weather. But some customers had complained about the program and the Office of Regulatory Staff several weeks ago asked the commission to end the three-year program. SCE&G said it filed a petition seeking to end the program jointly with regulatory staff, AARP and Frank Knapp. Bills issued beginning in January would no include the Electric Weather Normalization Adjustment mechanism, the company said.

Manufacturer to locate in Greenville County

Materials Sciences Corp. will open a new manufacturing facility in Greenville County, investing $1 million and creating 23 new jobs, the S.C. Department of Commerce said Tuesday. The Horsham, Penn.-based company designs and makes composite materials and structures for government and industry. The company will hire experienced loom technicians, advanced materials engineers, project managers, CNC and computer-controlled cutter operators, quality assurance personnel, and sales, marketing and administrative support roles. E-mail resumes to

Toy recalls decline but dangers still out there

Toy recalls for excessive lead and other hazards are down this year, but consumer advocates warn that potential dangers to children remain on store shelves. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group analyzed 50 toys for its annual safety report and found lead, loudness and other violations in just under a dozen toys. The consumer advocate group said that a Captain America Soft Shield purchased at Toys R Us had 29 times the legal limit of lead. The report said a package of toy jewelry rings from Dollar General tested positive for lead at twice the legal limit. Other concerns in the report included small parts that could cause a child to choke and some toddler toys that were too loud and exceeded federal safety limits.

Consumer confidence drops again

U.S. consumers’ confidence in the economy fell in November to the lowest level in seven months, as Americans expressed more concerns about hiring and pay increases in coming months. The Conference Board says that its index of consumer confidence dropped to 70.4 from 72.4 in October. The October reading was slightly higher than initially reported. Confidence has now fallen for three straight months after reaching a five-year high of 82.1 in June. Consumers’ confidence is closely watched because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

Kristy Eppley Rupon and The Associated Press contributed.