IBJNews

Duke Energy CEO apologizes to regulator over probe

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The head of Duke Energy said he regrets that officials with the nation's largest electric company went too far in their criticism of North Carolina regulators responsible for setting rates in its top power market, according to a letter released Tuesday.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission released the letter from Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, which was required by a settlement ending the commission's probe into whether regulators were misled about a surprise CEO switch at the company. Duke Energy's takeover of Raleigh-based Progress Energy ended with the combined company dumping a Progress executive who'd been promised the top job, in favor of Rogers.

Charlotte-based Duke Energy denies any wrongdoing, but apologized and admitted it had "fallen short of the commission's understanding of Duke Energy's obligations" as a regulated utility — language required by the settlement finalized last week.

Rogers, the former CEO of Plainfield-based PSI Resources Inc., also said the company regrets criticizing the commission about its investigation. The expression of regret went a step beyond what the letter was supposed to contain.

"I wish we could retract the statements made regarding the manner in which the hearings were conducted and regarding the commission's actions. We cannot undo what was said, but we acknowledge that our public criticism of the commission was inappropriate," Rogers' letter said. "We take our bond of trust with all regulators very seriously, and will work hard to continue to earn and maintain your trust."

Rogers and Duke Energy board members called to testify during hearings the commission held in July urged the regulator to drop its investigation and let the company focus on integrating the two Fortune 500 energy companies based in North Carolina. The deal created the nation's largest electric company. Duke director Ann Maynard Gray called the regulatory body's inquiry "unwarranted."

Last month, Rogers said that unless regulators treated Duke Energy fairly and properly, it might not keep its headquarters in North Carolina.

A Duke Energy spokesman later explained that Rogers wasn't warning the largest U.S. electric utility was thinking about moving its headquarters from Charlotte, just that a hostile regulatory environment in North Carolina could weaken Duke and leave it vulnerable to acquisition by a competitor.

Testimony during the commission's hearings and emails released as a result of its investigation indicated that Duke Energy directors considered for months dumping Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson as head of the combined company, a leadership position promised to him and to regulators throughout the 18-month merger process. Johnson was dumped hours after the deal closed July 2, surprising regulators and investors.

Duke Energy hopes the settlement will clear the air as it gears up to ask the regulator to approve two large rate increases in its largest market. Duke Energy has 3.2 million customers in North Carolina and another 3.9 million in South Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Florida.

Rogers will retire by Dec. 31, 2013 — a date announced simultaneously with the settlement.

Johnson was hired last month as chief executive of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation's largest public utility.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

ADVERTISEMENT