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Regulators, Duke Energy Reach Settlement
Written by Rick Martinez   
Friday, 30 November 2012 07:25

(RALEIGH) - Raleigh will be home to Duke Energy’s Carolina operations under a proposed settlement with the North Carolina Utilities Commission staff released Thursday.  Duke has 3.2 million electric customers in North Carolina and additional 715,000 customers in South Carolina. In total, Duke has 7.1 million customers in the Carolinas, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Under the agreement, Duke agrees to base the President of Duke Energy North Carolina as well as the Senior Vice-President of Carolinas Delivery Operations, in Raleigh for at least five years. The utility also agreed to base 1,000 employees in Raleigh for the same time period.

The full agreement must be approved by the utilities commission Monday. The agreement closes a commission investigation into the merger of Duke and Progress Energy which the regulatory body approved earlier this year. The merger was effective July 1, 2012. However, the new Duke Energy board fired CEO Bill Johnson, the former head of Raleigh-based Progress Energy. After the proposed merger was announced in 2011, the popular Johnson was touted to the commission as the head of the merged utility.

However, Johnson was fired by the new Duke board one day into his new job and the utilities commission launched an investigation after holding public hearings into Johnson’s abrupt dismissal.

The proposed settlement would end the investigation, but would not effect a separate investigation into the merger launched by NC Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Other major parts of the settlement include:

- Duke will make several changes in its top management positions, including naming a new General Counsel and naming a former Progress executive as Executive Vice-President for Regulated Utilities. In addition, James E. Rogers will retire as CEO of Duke on December 31, 2013, as he originally planned to do in conjunction with the merger.

- Duke’s Board of Directors will create a CEO and Board Member Search Committee with a balanced number of former Duke and former Progress Board members, plus a new Board member not previously affiliated with either of the two companies. This search committee will identify candidates for the CEO and new Board member positions.

- Duke will create and maintain a new committee of its Board of Directors to meet with the Commission periodically to receive comments from the Commission on the activities and actions of the Duke Board.

- Duke will guarantee that Duke's North Carolina retail ratepayers will receive an additional $25 million in fuel and fuel-related cost savings over and above the amount that Duke is obligated to provide pursuant to the Commission’s Order approving the merger.

- Duke will contribute an additional $5 million to workforce development and low-income assistance in North Carolina over and above the amount that Duke is obligated to provide pursuant to the Commission’s Order approving the merger.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 November 2012 07:32


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