Business briefs - March 20

March 20, 2011

Antrim Way Honda

GREENCASTLE Pa.Antrim Way Honda of Greencastle has earned the 2010 Council of Excellence award.

In 2010, only the top 15 percent of Honda dealerships were recognized by Honda Financial Services as worthy of the award.

Antrim Way Honda offers a complete line of Honda automobiles, as well as financing options from Honda Financial Services.

Meritus Health

Meritus Health, the largest health care provider in Western Maryland, recently received a revised credit profile from Standard & Poor's.

S&P revised Meritus Health's rating outlook to stable from negative, and affirmed its BBB- long-term rating. S&P based the outlook revision on Meritus Health's operating performance during the first half of fiscal 2011 (July 1 to Dec. 31, 2010) and the elimination of construction risk related to Meritus Health's replacement hospital project, which was completed and occupied in December.

Factors supporting the BBB- rating included an assessment of Meritus Health's operating results, characterized by a 4.7 percent operating margin; dominant market share in Washington County; and successful completion and occupancy of the replacement hospital on time and on budget.

Allegheny Power

The Edison Electric Institute honored Allegheny Power with the association's Emergency Recovery Award for restoring electricity to more than 475,000 customers who lost power during a massive snowstorm in February 2010.

The award is presented annually to U.S. and foreign-based member companies to recognize an outstanding response in restoring electric service that has been disrupted by severe weather conditions or other natural events. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process, and the awards were presented during EEI's spring CEO meeting.

Allegheny Power was the energy delivery business of Allegheny Energy Inc. prior to the Greensburg, Pa.-based company's merger with FirstEnergy on Feb. 25, 2011. Allegheny Power's three electric distribution subsidiaries are now FirstEnergy-regulated distribution companies, operating under the names West Penn Power, Mon Power and Potomac Edison.

In early February 2010, Allegheny Power's service territory — primarily in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland — was blanketed in more than 2 feet of wet, heavy snow and high winds, leading to substantial damage to the utility's delivery infrastructure. Drifting snow, bitter cold and major road closures compounded the restoration effort. Allegheny implemented its comprehensive storm plan, deploying its own resources as efficiently as possible.

Allegheny also mobilized line crews from other utilities under the industry's mutual-assistance program to intensify its storm response. Three-quarters of the interrupted customers had their power restored within three days of the massive snowstorm.

Responding to customer concerns also figured prominently in the company's efforts. Allegheny enhanced call-center operations, responded to hundreds of media inquiries and regularly updated the company website with restoration information.

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