- - Monday, September 12, 2011

TENNESSEE

Drop in TVA fuel cost more than offsets hike

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee Valley Authority ratepayers in October will get a break from lower fuel costs, with average residential bills expected to drop by as much as $3.50.

Despite a 2 percent increase in the utility’s base rate starting next month, a TVA statement Monday said a projected reduction in demand for power and coal-fired generation will actually reduce customer bills.

Compared with September, the combined effects of the higher base rate and the decrease in total monthly fuel costs will mean an average decrease of $1.50 to $3.50, depending on usage.

The statement said average wholesale rates in October will be lower than they have been since June.

TVA supplies power to about 9 million people in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

NEW YORK

Accenture settles claims of fraud for $63.7 million

NEW YORK — Global accounting giant Accenture has agreed to pay $63.7 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it defrauded the federal government, officials said Monday.

“Accenture has agreed to resolve allegations that it received kickbacks for its recommendations of hardware and software to the government,” the Department of Justice stated.

The firm also “fraudulently inflated prices and rigged bids in connection with federal information technology contracts,” the statement said.

The lawsuit was brought against Accenture in Arkansas by two whistleblowers who are entitled to receive part of the settlement under a U.S. law designed to help ferret out fraud in government contracting.

Accenture, which employs more than 223,000 people around the world and had more than $21 billion in revenue last year, is one of the world’s largest technology outsourcing and management consulting companies.

CALIFORNIA

Fired Yahoo CEO to quit directors board

SAN FRANCISCO — Carol Bartz has resigned from the Yahoo board of directors that she blasted for firing her as the company’s CEO last week.

The resignation reversed a defiant stance that Ms. Bartz took in a fiery interview published on Fortune magazine’s website Thursday. Ms. Bartz said, at the time, that she intended to retain her seat on Yahoo’s board even though she considered her fellow directors to be “doofuses.”

Ms. Bartz, 63, resigned from the board Friday, according to an email from board spokesman Charles Sipkins. Yahoo Inc. had previously said that Ms. Bartz was obligated to resign after her ouster as CEO.

Yahoo, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., has nine members left on its board.

An investment hedge fund that owns a 5.2 percent stake in Yahoo is asking Chairman Roy Bostock and three other directors to resign too. The fund, called Third Point, contends the board needs to be held accountable for hiring Ms. Bartz in January 2009 and other decisions that have contributed to a steep drop in Yahoo’s stock price in the past five years.

VERMONT

Entergy, state square off over nuke plant’s future

BRATTLEBORO — An executive at the company that owns Vermont’s only nuclear power plant told a federal judge Monday that he felt heavy pressure from state officials to sell power at a price favorable to Vermont utilities if his company wanted the state to allow the plant to continue operating.

The testimony by Marc Potkin, a vice president at Entergy Corp., came on the first day of a trial in which Entergy is suing the state for refusing to grant the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant the 20-year permit it needs to operate past March.

Entergy says its federal license extension, granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in March, pre-empts the state’s decision.

On Monday, Mr. Potkin said Vermont utility executives told him they needed bargain rates to buy nuclear power from Vermont Yankee or they would not expect the state to allow the plant to continue running.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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