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Here’s a new and sobering report from Democracy NC on the proposed Duke-Progress behemoth…  

“Merged Utilities Would Create State’s Top Corporate PAC,

115 of 170 NC Legislators Have Duke/Progress Donations

The merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy would not only create the largest electric utility in the nation. The combined lobbying muscle of the two companies would likely produce the most politically influential corporation inNorth Carolina, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan watchdog group, Democracy North Carolina. Read More

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Justice Center Housing and Consumer Policy Director Al Ripley and I have a “Point of View” piece in the Raleigh’s News & Observer this morning entitled “Getting more out of the merger.”

In it, we call on the state Utilities Commission to demand much more of the proposed $90 billion Duke-Progress Energy behemoth to address the needs of low-income consumers than is currently proposed (i.e. a token, one-year contribution roughly equivalent to what the companies pay their two CEO’s).

Here’s the “what should be done” section:

“No one expects Duke, Progress or a new combined statewide monopoly to solve all of North Carolina’s energy and poverty woes. The problems have been long in the making and will not be solved overnight. Still, the notion that North Carolina might allow such a huge and unprecedented event as a Duke-Progress merger to take place without requiring more of a regulated monopoly that exists to serve the public interest than a token, one-time contribution – say, 10 to 20 times more – is shocking.

Let’s fervently hope that the Utilities Commission does the right thing and demands much, much more.”