Chattanooga electricity prices to rise next month

The typical residential customer of EPB will pay another $2.37 for electricity next month due to an increase in the monthly fuel cost adjustment by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which supplies wholesale power to EPB and 152 other municipalities and power cooperatives across its 7-state region.

The average Chattanooga homeowner using 1,295 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month will pay $129.71 for EPB power in October, up from $127.34 this month and $122.80 for the same amount of power purchased a year earlier. The jump in the fuel cost portion of TVA's bill to EPB is pushing up Chattanooga electricity prices by 5.6% above the level of a year ago when the coronavirus reduced demand and held down fuel expenses for TVA.

TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said TVA's overall system average fuel rate for October is 28% higher than the average over the previous three years.

"The higher fuel rate is mostly due to expectations for increased gas prices and purchased power costs in the coming months, as well as a small increase in TVA sales relative to the comparative three-year timeframe which includes COVID impacts from October 2020," Brooks said.

TVA has maintained its wholesale base rates to its distributors and offered pandemic relief and recovery credits to help hold down its rates over the past year and a half. But TVA adjusts its prices each month based upon what it pays for natural gas, coal and other purchased power.


Home construction up 3.9% after July decline

U.S. home construction rebounded 3.9% in August after a July decline with the strength coming in apartment construction.

The August increase left home construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.62 million units, 17.4% above the pace of a year ago, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The strength came in a 21.6% jump in construction of apartment units which offset a 2.8% fall in construction starts of single-family homes.

Applications for building permits, seen as a good sign of future activity, rose 6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.73 million units.


Activision confirms probe into discrimination charge

Activision Blizzard, one of the world's most high-profile video game companies, has confirmed a regulatory probe and said it is working to address complaints of workplace discrimination.

The Santa Monica, California, company said Tuesday that it is complying with a recent subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission on employment matters, that it has cooperated with an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation into employment practices and that it is working with multiple regulators on addressing workplace complaints.

Shares have dropped 20% in two months as legal woes build over an alleged culture of discrimination against women and minorities at the maker of Candy Crush, Call of Duty, Overwatch and World of Warcraft.


Labor costs push up FedEx operating costs

FedEx is getting hurt by the tight job market.

The package delivery company said Tuesday that its costs are up $450 million in the most recent quarter, as it paid higher wages as it got harder to find new workers and demand for shipping increased. FedEx also cut its outlook for the year, saying earnings will be lower than it previously expected, partly due to the increased costs related to the tight labor market.

Shares of FedEx Corp. fell 4% in after-hours trading. Competition for hourly workers has become fierce, and many companies are offering higher pay, sign-on bonuses and other incentives. It may get worse during the holidays as companies seek help getting gifts and online orders to shoppers.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner