Duke Energy roundup: keeping records private, shareholders upset, and Locke Foundation makes snowballs in hell

Duke Energy has filed a motion with a Federal judge asking that records requested during the Federal investigation into the company's coal ash debacle be kept from state regulators and environmental groups that had sued Duke Energy under the Clean Water Act.

Frank Holleman, senior staff attorney with the environmental law group, said Duke's motion is a stalling tactic.

"They are using the fact that they are caught up in a federal criminal investigation related to their coal ash storage as an excuse to try to postpone the enforcement of the law against them," he said. "It's exactly backward from how you think the law would operate."

Meanwhile, a group of 20 institutional shareholders wrote a letter to Duke Energy's Board of Directors to call for a probe of the coal ash spill.

"In the wake of this catastrophic spill, shareholders are demanding answers and action," said Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler. "As the owners of public corporations, shareholders expect companies to do business the right way, which will bolster public confidence, sustain the environment, and enhance long-term share value."

After an initial dip, the company's stock price has remained largely steady at about $70 a share since the spill. The nation's largest electricity company, Duke reported $24.6 billion in total revenues for 2013, with nearly $2.7 billion in net profits.

Last Sunday, Duke Energy took out a full-page ad in newspapers around the state, saying the company wants to regain the confidence of North Carolinians.

IndyWeek reported earlier in the week that a movement against the Duke Energy monopoly has emerged, joining strange bedfellows, progressive NCWARN and the right-wing extremist John Locke Foundation.

But they do share a goal: Change the state law which grants Duke Energy a monopoly in most of North Carolina and bars "third party" sales of electricity by anyone else.

Duke would still own the transmission wires. But it would no longer be the only company generating power for sale.

You know things must be completely out of control if one of Art Pope's stink tanks agrees with progressives on something.


Great round up

Thanks for writing this.


This law needs to change today, and it seems everyone (outside Duke Energy at least) can see the sense in it!

North Carolina is for lack of a better term, "blessed" with an abundance of small and medium scale hydroelectric potential. Enough potential that, together with smart deployment of wind and solar, it could conceivably cut our dependence on Duke's monopoly in half or more.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Just heard a Duke Energy radio spot today

Something about people not wanting to worry about where the power comes from, because they've got other things to worry about, like how many cupcakes to cook for their child's school project.

It's plainly a PR move to counter all the bad publicity due to Duke poisoning our water, but I don't think they realize just how condescending this radio ad sounds.

p.s. it says the ad was paid for by a Duke Energy shareholder, but it doesn't say whom.

Shareholders and ad

It might have said it was paid for by "Duke Energy shareholders" (plural). The newspaper ad they put up last week says that at the bottom. It's their way of saying that "Duke Energy consumers" didn't pay for it?

Here's their pr web pages about the coal ash scandal if you want to check it out.

Maybe this will slow down

Maybe this will slow down their desire to pay less to those homeowners who have solar panels and sometimes sell power back to Duke.


Duke Energy & Pollution stock is up recently.

When you're a monopoly with essentially guaranteed financial returns, saying that shareholders paid for something is more or less equivalent to saying that consumers paid for it.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014