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Utility surcharge draws challenge

ATLANTA — The unlikely duo of ex-Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes and former Republican House Speaker Glenn Richardson are teaming up to challenge Georgia Power over a surcharge they say has cost ratepayers up to $100 million.

The challenge focuses on a surcharge approved by lawmakers in 2009 that let Georgia Power charge its customers in advance for the costs of financing the construction of new nuclear power plants.

The lawsuit contends the utility is charging sales tax on the finance surcharge and the franchise tax paid to cities. Richardson said in a phone interview it has cost ratepayers between $90 million and $100 million

Georgia Power officials would not immediately comment. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday at Fulton County Superior Court.

Higher gas costs boost price index

WASHINGTON — A sharp jump in gas prices drove a measure of U.S. consumer costs up in February. Outside of higher pump prices, inflation stayed mild.

The Labor Department said Friday that the consumer price index rose 0.4 percent in February, the largest increase in 10 months. Gas prices rose 6 percent to account for most of the gain.

Food prices were unchanged for the first time in 19 months. And excluding food and energy, so-called “core” prices rose just 0.1 percent.

U.S. factories stepped up production in February for the third month in a row, helping the economy recover and driving the best job growth since the recession ended.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that the output of the nation’s factories rose 0.3 percent last month. That followed even stronger increases in January and December, which combined for the best two-month stretch since 1998.

BBB plans to hold shredding event

As part of a national identity theft and fraud protection effort, Better Business Bureau is holding a free Secure Your ID Day shredding event from 10 a.m. to noon April 21 in the Walmart parking lot on Bobby Jones Expressway.

Consumers can bring up to three boxes/bags of paper documents to be shredded on site. The BBB recommends that utility bills, pay stubs, bank statements and canceled checks be shredded after one year.

Job openings to be highlighted at MAU

MAU Workforce Solu­tions will hold a session Tuesday to fill 100 customer service representative positions.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, 2651 Perimeter Parkway in Augusta. Applicants should bring a resume and must submit to a background check and drug screening.

The customer service representatives must start work March 26, with work hours from 2:30 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday.

MAU offers optional benefits, including medical, prescription, dental, vision, 401(k) and life insurance.

– Staff and wire reports


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