Uncategorized

Weak Conditions Offered on Duke-Progress Merger

The closed-door decision by the NC Utilities Commission (NCUC) and the Public Staff to end its investigation into the Duke-Progress merger in exchange for a handful of restrained conditions is another missed opportunity by state regulators to protect NC consumers.

The Commission must vote on the proposal on Monday which includes conditions such as shuffling of staff and board members, concretizing Jim Rogers’ already planned 2013 retirement and throwing a few bones to consumers and low-income customers. It’s mind-boggling to think how little has come from the merger investigation.

First and foremost – where are the results of the independent investigation? The public deserves to see what was uncovered.

Second, the Public Staff should have taken the opportunity to compel Duke to change its rate allocation method which is unfair to residential customers. In the past, the Public Staff has highlighted serious drawbacks with Duke’s method – so why squander the opportunity? Progress uses a different method to allocate rates (considered more fair) so why should the merged company not have to rectify the inconsistency?

Third, evidence has been building that the utilities may have hidden cost estimates related to the crippled Progress’ Crystal River nuclear plant in Florida. The plant has been shut down since 2009 due to cracks found in the containment walls. Earlier this week, NCWARN uncovered documents that raise questions about what was actually disclosed about this potentially huge liability during the merger proceedings. Where is the information to show that the Commission and the Public Staff were privy to cost estimates and if not, why would they settle without further investigation?

Finally, a real sanction for the botched merger would be to disallow the return on equity agreed in Duke’s last rate case. A 10.5% return was allowed, which is factored into electricity rates. A review of Duke’s return on equity since 2007 showed 7.9% as the high, so why be so generous at the expense of NC customers. Now we’ll have to wait and see if the Attorney General is successful in his case against Duke before the NC Supreme Court.

The NC Utilities Commission and the Public Staff’s merger conditions are weak and limited. If that is all these entities judged they could demand from the evidence, then let the public see the results of the external investigation – so we can judge their decision.

One Comment


  1. Bonnlass

    December 3, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Jim Rogers should have been forced to resign effective January 1, 2013 which wold put him in at higher tax rate and over the cliff like his friends “McColl” & Company. Furthermore he should be legally forced to return the $10 million he gave to the DNC back to the shareholders.

Check Also

Excuses fading for inaction on climate change

Among the most prominent reasons for US inaction ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement refuses to disclose any details of probe into alle [...]

Senate favors form of merit selection for judges as alternative to House judicial redistricting bill [...]

North Carolinians hoping to find out who’s been funding Rep. Justin Burr’s crusade this legislative [...]

The SePro Corporation is receiving as much as $1.3 million in taxpayer money to chemically kill the [...]

900 million---amount in dollars of the cost of the tax cuts passed this year when they are fully in [...]

Mixed and confusing signals from NC GOPers on confederate monuments Senate President Pro Tem Phil Be [...]

Here is something you probably haven’t heard much lately, if at all, given the shocking news from Ch [...]

Lawmakers to return to Raleigh yet again; agenda may include dangerous “de-reg” proposal The North C [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more