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No Rate Increase From TVA
Despite what it called "a challenging year," the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors on Thursday passed a budget for fiscal year 2013 that includes no increase in wholesale electric rates.
“This demonstrates TVA’s commitment to delivering reliable, low-cost and cleaner energy to consumers and businesses in the Valley,” said TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore. “Supplying reliable, competitively priced electricity is the single most important thing TVA can do for the economic health of the region.
“The budget recommendation approved by the board contains no rate increase for FY2013 and lays the foundation for a consistent rate strategy in the years ahead,” he added.
Kilgore also announced his pending retirement at Thursday's meeting.
Kilgore noted that even as TVA works to improve its power rates, it also must invest in the power system to address necessary maintenance and operational needs, including environmental projects. The approved 2013 budget, which is based on projected revenues of $11.2 billion, includes $2.7 billion for capital investments, in addition to $9.5 billion for operating expenses.
In a news release Kilgore said long term, having a balanced portfolio of several generating sources – instead of relying heavily on any one source – will help TVA lower power costs and ensure reliability. TVA also plans to avoid spikes in power prices in the future by considering smaller rate increases more frequently.
“This rate strategy would serve our customers and TVA better by making our rates less volatile and easier to predict,” he said. If TVA had used that approach in past years, TVA rates would be no higher than they are now but TVA would have better cash flow for maintaining and upgrading the power system.
In other actions, the board:
Approved the issuance of up to $5 billion in long-term bonds, if needed, during FY 2013.
Approved an update to the unique transmission service arrangement TVA has with Memphis, Light, Gas and Water to support changing utility and business obligations for high voltage transmission.
Heard an update on TVA’s environmental policy that noted progress in air quality, climate change mitigation, water resources, waste management and natural resource management.
Selected Ernst and Young as TVA’s independent external financial auditor for FY 2013.
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Last Update on September 18, 2014 07:45 GMT
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Asian stock markets mostly fell today after the U.S. Federal Reserve increased its estimate for the level of the central bank's benchmark interest rate by the end of 2015, surprising investors who expected a slower pace of rate hikes.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.7 percent to 24,199.87 and South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.8 percent to 2,046.53.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.1 percent to 5,399.60.
Stocks in New Zealand and mainland China also fell but Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 percent to 16,099.30 as the yen weakened.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- There are two government reports due out today.
The Labor Department will release data on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. For the previous week, slightly more Americans sought benefits, but the total number receiving aid remained at a seven-year low.
The Commerce Department reports on U.S. home construction in August. In July, construction rebounded to an eight-month high, offering hope that housing had regained momentum after two months of declines.
Also today, Freddie Mac will release average mortgage rates for this week. Last week, the average for the 30-year loan edged up to 4.12 percent from 4.10 percent the previous week. At 4.12 percent, the average rate is still down sharply from 4.53 percent at the start of the year.
`And Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will speak today on the importance of asset building for low- and middle-income households at a conference of the Corporation for Enterprise Development in Washington.
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan has logged a 948.5 billion yen ($8.8 million) trade deficit in August, the 26th straight month of red ink, as weak demand at home hit imports while exports also fell.
The Finance Ministry reported Thursday that exports fell 1.3 percent from a year earlier to 5.71 trillion yen ($53.3 billion) while imports dropped 1.5 percent to 6.65 trillion yen ($62.1 billion).
A weakening in the value of the Japanese yen has so far failed to spur a rebound in exports, despite nascent recoveries in the U.S. and Europe. Slower growth in China, Japan's biggest trading partner, has also hurt.
But consumer spending inside Japan has been lackluster since an April 1 sales tax, reducing demand for imports. Weaker oil prices have also cut costs for imported oil and gas.
BURNHAM, Maine (AP) -- Lincoln Logs, the popular toy created nearly a century ago by the son of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is coming home to the U.S.A.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage announced Wednesday the toy logs, created by John Lloyd Wright and used to create miniature toy buildings, will be made at Pride Manufacturing, a wood products company in Burnham.
The toy has been made in China. But Pride Manufacturing officials say that when production of the wooden pieces ramps up, possibly in November, 80 percent of the toy will be made at the plant in Maine.
Some plastic pieces will still be made in China.
Hatfield, Pennsylvania-based K'NEX currently holds the product license.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos plans to build a rocket engine that would eventually replace the Russian mainstay used in many American unmanned launches.
United Launch Alliance, a collaboration of two aerospace giants that launches unmanned rockets, announced Wednesday that it will pay Bezos' Blue Origin space firm to develop new rocket engines. In about four years, the launch alliance hopes to start using the new engines in Delta and Atlas rockets.
Some experts worry that tensions over Ukraine might interrupt the supply of Russian engines, but alliance chief Tory Bruno said that's not a problem.
Bezos said he will proceed with plans for his private human space capsule to launch later this decade. However, Bezos' firm wasn't picked Tuesday by NASA for its $6.8 billion private space taxi program.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Agriculture Department is approving the use of genetically modified corn and soybean seeds that are resistant to a popular weed killer.
However, farmers won't be able to take full advantage of the seeds until the Environmental Protection Agency issues a second ruling allowing the use of Enlist, a new version of the 2,4-D weed killer that's been around since the 1940s. The EPA has said it will rule this fall on Dow AgroSciences' application to market the chemical.
The agriculture industry has been anxiously awaiting the approvals, as many weeds have become resistant to glyphosate, an herbicide commonly used on corn and soybeans now.
Critics say they are concerned the increased use of 2,4-D could endanger public health and that more study on the chemical is needed.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A bug in Apple's new iOS 8 software for mobile devices is prompting the company to withhold apps that use a highly touted feature for keeping track of fitness and health data.
Apple says it hopes to have HealthKit apps restored to its app store by the end of the month. Affected apps include Carrot Fit, WebMD and AskMD. Apple didn't provide details on what went wrong.
The iOS 8 software became available Wednesday. HealthKit is supposed to create a central repository for health and fitness data, so that apps have a better picture of your overall wellness and can even recommend trips to the doctor.
Apple's new iPhones have sensors to monitor fitness activities, and its upcoming Apple Watch will have a heart-rate monitor.
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