Duke Energy to consumers: You'll pay for our incompetence

Start watching at the 1:30 mark, where you'll find something like this:

We've cut corners for years to barely comply with environmental regulations, including coal ash. Now that the jig is up, we're going to pass the full cost of fixing the problems to you consumers. You've already paid once for us to put the ash in sub-standard holding ponds, and now you're going to pay again for us to move the mess somewhere else. Don't forget. We're Duke Energy. We own your deputy assistant governor, and we own this state. Get used to it.



Please contact the Utilities Commission



Here's what I wrote:

Duke Energy has cut corners for years in order to barely comply with environmental regulations, including coal ash. Now that there has been a major failure, they want to pass the full cost of fixing their problems on to consumers.

We've already paid them once to put the ash in sub-standard holding ponds, and now we're going to pay again to move the mess somewhere else?

I know Duke Energy owns deputy assistant governor McCrory, and the rest of state government. Please don't tell me they also own the utilities commission.

The cost of safely storing coal ash, after all these many years, should fall on Duke Energy shareholders, not ratepayers.

James Protzman

Duke exists as a government-sanctioned monopoly

... only because we as citizens allow it.

It boggles the mind why we allow this government-sanctioned monopoly to pay dividends to "shareholders."

Why have governors, citizens and legislators not long ago said...

"Duke, clean up your f-cking mess or be taken over by the citizens that allow you to exist outside of the market."


She's going to regret those remarks

There's widespread dismay and anger over the spill, and not just amongst enviros. Not to mention previous promises from her that Duke Energy would cover the costs:

However, also on Tuesday, Duke Energy CEO told the Charlotte Observer customers won’t pay the bill for the cleanup.

“We will analyze the financial implications, we’ll work with our insurers and we will be accountable for this,” she said. Duke spokesman Tom Williams later told the paper that “customers will not be accountable for this. Duke Energy will be accountable.”

The N.C. Utilities Commission would have to approve any new rates hikes for Duke Energy.

That's not ambiguous.

She's splitting hairs

There's the Dan River clean up, and then there's the whole-fucking-mess clean up. She's saying Duke Energy will cover the former, and let all the rest of us cover the latter. Charming.

Here's mine, FWIW:

Duke Energy's new CEO just stated the costs for the cleanup at Dan River and transfer of their coal ash residue at other sites to safer impoundments would be passed along to ratepayers, a complete reversal of previous statements. Since they must receive permission from the NCUC to recoup that money from their customers, I would ask that you keep the following in mind:

Duke has paid quarterly dividends to its (stock) shareholders for 88 consecutive years. That predates every coal-burning power plant and its associated impoundment basins, meaning the cost-cutting to beef up profit margins was a factor during the construction of each of these facilities. And ratepayers were charged upfront for the construction costs, while the shareholders kept receiving those dividends. And as technology and scientific understanding improved, which should have seen the transfer of coal ash into lined ponds, the cost-cutting and dividend payments continued, while the toxic ash slowly leaked into our waters.

Duke Energy and its shareholders have reaped the profits of this dirty technology, and they've also been sheltered from the bulk of the taxes that should have been collected. They've been paid, numerous times over. Now it's time for Duke and its shareholders to pay something back, to be held responsible for decades of profit-driven behavior, which has endangered our water resources.

We've already paid. Now it's their turn.

Steve Harrison


Now if they'll just read it ... which I doubt will happen.

Duke Energy deserves the

Duke Energy deserves the Scrooge of the Year Award for seeking to make customers pay for its maintenance mistakes in coal ash ponds. Its profit margins have risen partly due to increased customer rates.

It is time for Duke Energy to sacrifice some profits. That is what Personal Responsibility is all about; holding one's self responsible for one's actions, and not requiring others to pay for it. That is the Republican mantra. And as we all know, Corporations are People, My Friend. There is not one good reason why the people of this state should be cleaning up after Duke Energy.

Duke can take the costs of the clean up out of their stockholders' dividends. That is the mores appropriate route. Will they complain? Absolutely. And the next time Duke Energy seeks to keep maintenance costs down it will be the shareholders that stand up and say, oh, not you don't! Do it in a manner that will not hurt the environment! Shareholders must take responsibility for the actions of the corporations they invest in.

It is safe to presume that Duke stockholders also drink water, and don't want to bathe their children in a chemical bath.

Duke Energy, it is time for you to ante up. Being a responsible corporate person is about more than profits. The costs of this clean up should come out of Duke profits not customer pockets.

Emphasis is mine.
From The State

Duke Energy said its fourth-quarter profit rose 58 percent, helped by higher customer rates and strength in overseas operations.

The Charlotte-based company, the dominant provider of electricity to the Upstate, said Tuesday it earned $688 million, or 97 cents a share, up from $435 million, or 62 cents a share, in the year-earlier period….

Duke said net income at its regulated utilities increased 22 percent to $607 million, helped by rate increases and lower operating and maintenance expenses.

For the quarter, the company said it achieved lower costs through synergies realized from the 2012 merger with Progress Energy….

Regulators last year approved rate hikes in South Carolina, North Carolina and Ohio.

Net income rose 21 percent to $108 million at the company’s international segment, which saw higher energy volumes and pricing in Brazil, Duke officials said….

“Our company demonstrated tremendous focus and discipline in 2013,” said Lynn Good, Duke’s president and CEO. “As a result, we achieved the midpoint of our earnings per share guidance range, increased the dividend, and exceeded our original target of 5 to 7 percent in non-fuel operating and maintenance savings.

“We are also ahead of target to achieve our merger savings commitment to Carolinas customers through fuel and joint-dispatch savings,” she said. “In 2014, we will focus on building on the momentum created in 2013 to achieve our financial and operational objectives.”

For the full-year 2013, Duke earned more than $2.6 billion, or $3.76 per share, up from more than $1.7 billion, or $3.07 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue increased 25 percent to $24.6 billion from $19.62 billion.

From the Business Journal:

Duke Energy Corp. owes no federal income tax payment for 2012 despite profits of almost $1.8 billion. In fact, Duke is owed $46 million back from the government because of tax deferrals.

But spokesman Tom Williams says the Charlotte-based company (NYSE:DUK) still owes taxes. He emphasizes they are deferred, not forgiven. They will be paid after the deferral period ends, he says.

Duke's recent tax deferrals have been higher than in the past because of accelerated depreciation and other tax provisions in the stimulus package President Obama got through Congress in 2009.

In its most recent annual financial report, Duke says its federal tax deferrals for 2012 totaled $513 million.

Matt Gardner is executive director of the Institute for Tax and Economic Policy in Washington, which tracks corporate tax payments. He says Duke is not alone among corporations that have been able to defer their entire tax bills and more in recent years. But he says Duke has proved particularly adept at it.

Duke’s annual financial filings show it used deferrals to eliminate its entire federal tax payments in five of the last six years. That includes 2007, when Duke’s tax bill was a negative $59 million.

Duke paid federal income taxes totaling $60 million in 2008, the year before the stimulus package was approved. In 2008, Duke reported profits of more than $1.3 billion.