Duke Energy

Duke Energy business as usual: $524 penalty deposit

When you have $25 billion in revenues, every little bit counts.

“Over the years, it’s clear that Duke has crafted a lucrative profit center by penalizing its customers, often those who can least afford it."

It's worth noting that Ms. Joy White, the person featured in this article, is "a self-described conservative, who does not bang a drum against Corporate America. Capitalism is just fine with her. And she wants to pay her bill. But a $524 penalty deposit is out of line, she said Tuesday."

Ms. White may want to reconsider her political leanings. Either that or STFU about the penalty being "out of line." In Corporate America, Duke Energy gets to say who pays how much for what, and Ms. White's opinion are as irrelevant as she is.

Coal Ash Wednesday: No signature required

This'll show 'em:

Gov. Pat McCrory announced Tuesday afternoon he'll allow legislation to clean up coal ash in North Carolina to become law without his signature. The proposal was the topic of tense debate last month between House and Senate leaders, who sent the governor a compromise plan in the final hours of the 2014 legislative session.

According to a statement released by McCrory's office late Tuesday, the governor supports "continued action" on the clean up, but he has concerns about the constitutionality of the oversight commission created by the legislation. The majority of members on that independent panel will be appointed by state lawmakers, not the governor. "While there are great pieces to this legislation, there are major deficiencies that need to be corrected,” McCrory said in the statement.

Then they should be corrected, not allowed to become law. I understand (as Laura Leslie mentioned on Facebook yesterday) due to political concerns McCrory feels like he has no choice. Just like many Legislators who voted for it, going against this bill could anger the public, who simply want something done on this issue. But it's not going to protect them as much as they think it will, and that false sense of security could end up being more dangerous in the long run than sending it back to the kitchen.

Duke Energy wearing two hats with nat gas pipeline

Playing both ends against the middle:

Duke Energy: owner and customer

Duke Energy will own its 40 percent share of the pipeline through the company’s Commercial Power business unit.

Separately, Duke Energy’s two North Carolina regulated utilities – Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress – will be customers of the pipeline, paying the pipeline’s owners to transport natural gas.

The transaction between Duke Energy’s commercial and regulated units will require North Carolina Utilities Commission approval, which Duke Energy will request this fall.

Since NC has reverted back to the unwise, unfair, and costly to consumers CWIP (Construction Work In Progress) program, the likelihood that Duke Energy will try to recoup their share of the construction costs of this pipeline via rate hikes is high. Whether they try to do that directly from the Commercial Power "business unit," or if said unit passes along the costs in what it charges the other Duke Energy entities, who will then seek the rate increases themselves, remains to be seen. But it bears watching. Closely.

Coal Ash Wednesday: on the NCGA's "amnesty" bill for Duke Energy

From the Southern Environmental Law Center:

Allowing coal ash to be left in unlined, leaking pits across North Carolina with documented groundwater contamination at each site is not a cleanup plan nor does it protect the people of North Carolina. Many sites across the country where coal ash has been covered up or "capped" in place continue to experience high levels of toxic pollution. Covering up coal ash and calling sites "closed" does not stop or clean up pollution.

As Duke Energy sought previously through its proposed sweetheart settlement deal with the state, the bill gives Duke Energy amnesty for its leaking coal ash dams. Rather than requiring Duke to fix its leaking dams, S 729 would let the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) shield Duke by authorizing uncontrolled discharges of contaminated wastewater into our rivers and lakes. Granting this responsibility to an agency with a history of putting the interests of Duke Energy over the public is a prescription for failure.

Let's take a look at what's been going on in some of those other states:

Coal Ash Wednesday: I'll see your fine and raise you a rate

Disciplinary action or election-year posturing?

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a notice of violation to Duke over the ongoing contamination at the L.V. Sutton Electric Plant in New Hanover County. The site includes a pair of unlined dumps estimated to hold 2.6 million tons of ash.

The state says monitoring wells near Duke's dumps at Sutton showed readings exceeding state groundwater standards for boron, thallium, selenium, iron, manganese and other chemicals. Thallium was used for decades as the active ingredient in rat poison until it was banned because it is so highly toxic.

Make no mistake, Duke Energy should be fined for allowing toxic chemicals to leak from their coal ash impoundments. But considering they will soon be pursuing (and likely be granted) rate increases from the NCUC, whatever fines they do pay for this will be easily recouped from the people. And efforts by DENR to conceal or edit test results calls the timing of this action into question:

Nothing to brag about

Coal Ash Wednesday: "cap and leak" plan moves forward

Stick a Band-Aid on it and do a victory dance:

The legislation mandates that ash be excavated at only four of Duke’s 14 North Carolina coal-fired power plants. “Low-risk” ponds can be capped in place without removing ash. A moratorium on Duke seeking rate hikes to pay for coal ash cleanup would expire in January 2015, as the Senate bill had stated. The House had pushed for the moratorium to end in December 2016.

Contaminated groundwater has been found near ash ponds at all of Duke’s coal plants. The Southern Environmental Law Center said the committee changes seek “to weaken existing law and protect Duke Energy from taking responsibility for its coal ash waste.”

“Allowing coal ash to be left in unlined, leaking pits across North Carolina with documented groundwater contamination at each site is not a cleanup plan nor does it protect the people of North Carolina,” the center said.

This isn't a compromise bill, it's the bastard child of a horrible plan and an already compromised plan. And the only reason it's moving forward is political in nature, so Republicans won't get punished in November for doing nothing.

Pat McCrory's crisis continues: "legacy by damnation"

The words are haunting.

Charlotte Observer editorial board gets a hit before hook touches water

The Charlotte Observer editorial board inadvertently asked for takers on Saturday in regard to Governor Pat McCrory's Duke stock ownership. Like chum on the crest of a wave off of Cape Lookout, it didn't take long.

I’m a proud native of the City of Charlotte. One of my first jobs was delivering the Observer when I was in junior high school. I attended the public schools and went on to Wake Forest University for undergraduate and law school. After two years in the U.S. Army, I practiced law in Charlotte for 40 years. I even had the honor of serving as president of the Mecklenburg County Bar Association.

I also love our entire state. That’s why I accepted the opportunity to serve as general counsel for our former mayor and current governor, Pat McCrory.

More on McCrory and Duke Energy

Received via email:

You recall that McCrory refused to disclose anything about his sources of income or release his tax returns.

In the continuing dialogue, what is he now saying about Duke Energy stock? That he owns some in a 401(k) plan as a separate asset? Or does he participate in the Duke Retirement Savings Program?

Either way, any decision of his regarding a matter that financially impacts Duke common stock has a material impact on McCrory’s economic well-being (given that his financial disclosure statement shows his 401(k) is his only significant asset).

From the Duke 401(k) plan:

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