The high cost of Duke Energy greed

Utility regulators asleep at the switch
-- There is a reason for all of the bluster in North Carolina over the
ouster of Bill Johnson as CEO of newly
combined Duke Energy and Progress Energy. The regulators are
embarrassed for failing to do their job and properly examine the deal.
In North Carolina, utility regulators did not even ask about the
shuttered Crystal River nuclear power plant. In Florida, they
asked but failed to move aggressively and had even less authority to
review the merger. If regulators didn't see this coming, they have only
themselves to blame.
Law firm investigating Duke Energy's Board of Directors
-- Block & Leviton LLP, a Boston-based law firm, is investigating
possible breaches
of fiduciary duties by the Board of Directors of Duke Energy Corp. in
connection with its merger with Progress Energy Inc. and the subsequent
ouster of former Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson. Block & Leviton’s
investigation will determine, among other things,
whether the Board of Directors breached their fiduciary duties in
connection with the merger and subsequent events.

Law firm trolling for Duke lawsuit
-- A Boston law firm that represents investors claiming securities violations is already looking for plaintiffs.
Duke's Almost CEO Was a Good Leader: Ex-Progress Director
-- Progress Energy Inc. Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson was a
communicator’ and not the autocrat Duke Energy Corp. CEO James Rogers
described in a hearing on why Johnson was ousted from the combined
company’s leadership, former Progress Energy director John Mullin III
said. Johnson exhibited few of the traits that Rogers
said led Duke’s board to lose confidence in him as the $17.8 billion
takeover of Progress closed, Mullin said yesterday in a telephone
interview. Duke’s board decided to replace Johnson, who was supposed to
become executive chairman, shortly after the deal
closed July 2, Rogers said at a hearing at the North Carolina Utilities
Commission July 10.
Duke Energy faces regulator chill after CEO switch
-- Duke Energy Corp, under regulatory scrutiny over the
abrupt ouster of its CEO, is not expected to be forced to undo its
purchase of Progress Energy, but could face a cold reception when it
seeks new power rates in North Carolina later this year. Duke's board of
directors removed former Progress chief Bill Johnson
from the top spot just hours after completing the $18 billion
acquisition last week and asked former Duke CEO James Rogers to take
Duke Energy's Ousted CEO Asked to Testify
-- North Carolina regulators are asking ousted Duke Energy Corp. Chief
Executive Bill Johnson to
tell his side of the story next week as they continue seeking
explanations for the boardroom coup that occurred after the closure of
the company's $26 billion merger with Progress Energy Inc. The North
Carolina Utilities Commission issued an order summoning
Mr. Johnson, the former Progress CEO, to testify before regulators next
Thursday. He was abruptly forced to resign by Duke's board just hours
after the companies merged July 2.
Duke Energy may face deeper NC inquiry
-- State regulatory attorneys are trying to figure out if the old Duke
Energy Corp. had a legal duty
to tell the N.C. Utilities Commission it had soured on plans to have
Progress Energy Inc. Chief Executive Bill Johnson run Duke after the
companies merged. The answer could have implications on whether the
commission can impose a penalty on Duke. And the state’s
utility-customer advocate says there is precedent for the commission to
make Duke pay millions in additional concessions as part of the merger.
The uproar continues over the ouster of Johnson

Utilities panel says Johnson must testify
-- Two days after hearing
from reinstated Duke chief executive Jim Rogers, the commission ordered
Johnson and four Duke board members to testify. Duke also was ordered to
produce extensive board minutes, emails
and other documents.
Ousted Duke Energy CEO, board members, to testify in hearings
-- The N.C. Utilities Commission has called former Progress Energy CEO
Bill Johnson — who was briefly CEO of Duke Energy — and four members of
Duke’s board to testify in two days of hearings next week on Johnson’s
ouster from the top job at the company. Duke CEO Jim Rogers testified to
the commission this week, giving his version
of how the board came to reappoint him as chief executive to succeed
Johnson. Now the commission to talk to Johnson about the events in a
hearing set for July 19.

NC utilities panel calls former Progress CEO Johnson to testify
The commission also has directed four Duke Energy board members to
appear in Raleigh to testify about Bill Johnson's firing. The commission
questioned Duke CEO Jim Rogers on Tuesday in a
4-hour session that attracted national media attention.
Cost of Duke Energy's merger deception keeps rising
-- More than 1,000 former Progress Energy employees piled into
Raleigh's downtown
Marriott on Wednesday as their "new" boss — Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers —
tried over the next two and a half hours to regain their trust.
Progress workers remain upset and skeptical after Rogers testified under
oath for four hours Tuesday to North Carolina
regulators and repeatedly trashed their former chief executive, Bill
Johnson. Defending Duke's actions in buying Progress Energy, Rogers said
Johnson came across as so "autocratic" that Duke's board of directors
lost confidence in his ability to meld the two
companies into one. The board ousted Johnson as the new CEO on the same
day the companies merged and named Rogers CEO instead. Why should
Floridians care about such Carolina intrigue?
Ex-Progress chief called to appear before Utilities Commission
-- The man who was dismissed as president and chief executive of Duke
Energy Corp. immediately after the company merged with Progress Energy
Inc. last week will tell state regulators what he knows of the
back-room dealings that cost him his job.
NC panel calls Progress's
Johnson to testify on Duke CEO shakeup
-- North Carolina
regulators have ordered former Progress Energy Chief Executive Bill
Johnson to testify on the details surrounding his ouster as CEO of Duke
Energy Corp. The North Carolina Utilities Commission
has also called Duke's lead director, Ann Maynard Gray, and other Duke
directors to appear before the commission, according to an order issued
on Thursday. Duke, which completed its $18 billion takeover of Progress
on July 2, voted to replace Johnson with
its own CEO, Jim Rogers, just hours after closing the deal. Under the
terms of the merger agreement, Johnson was supposed to hold the position
of CEO, while Rogers would serve as executive chairman.
More questions seen in Duke's credibility issue
-- Duke Energy may be in for a long slog in its efforts to win back its
credibility with investors
and regulators following the timing and handling of the ouster of the
man who held the CEO’s job for less than an evening and the subsequent
departure of three of his top lieutenants. In his appearance before the
North Carolina Utilities Commission on July
10, Duke CEO Jim Rogers was not fully able to answer commissioners’
questions about how Duke’s directors thought through their decision to
oust Progress Energy’s Bill Johnson.
Utilities Commission calls ex-Progress CEO to testify
-- North Carolina utilities regulators investigating whether they were
before the merger creating the country's largest electric company have
called the sacked CEO of Duke Energy to testify. The North Carolina
Utilities Commission on Thursday ordered two more days of hearings.
Former Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson was called
to testify next Thursday. The two companies said 18 months ago that
Johnson would head Charlotte-based Duke Energy after it took over
Raleigh-based Progress.
Media seek records of Duke, Progress power deals
-- Several media companies, including Capitol Broadcasting Co., the
parent company of WRAL, have filed a public records request to obtain
information about deals that Duke Energy Corp. and Progress Energy Inc.
cut with major customers before their merger.


Duke Enron and McCrory

Nobody was holding a gun to Duke Energy's head to acquire Progress Energy. It was a leadership choice.

And once the choice was made, it became clear that Duke would do anything to get its way. Anything, including mindf/ck the Public Utilities Commission.

Some of this feels like an echo of Enron debacle, but on a grander scale. It's not just about money. It's about power. And influence. That's the corporate culture Pat McCrory was raised in. Win at any cost.

Which explains why McCrory is unfazed by criticism about his financial secrecy. Who would want to admit that he was paid to do nothing but run for office for more than a decade?

Could Duke Energy's behavior be a tipping point for public backlash against corporate over-reaching? Enron certainly was, but times have changed. Corporations are now people.

I read stories about Rogers being a Democratic partisan, but I don't buy it. He's a Duke Energy partisan, just like Pat McCrory.

Wouldn't you love to see the mainstream media dig into the relationship between these two men. I'd ask for interviews, but they won't return my calls.

Still no answer.

Getting Duked

It is time to smoke McCrory out on the Duke fiasco - and Dalton as well. Remember that Dalton, running for Lt. Gov, was an ardent supporter of Duke's Cliffside coal plant in his home county - like a new coal plant was what the climate needed. Then he announced he was pro-fracking. There are Democrats, Republicans and Dukians. Both candidates are Dukians - also known as Moneyians.

But seriously, folks need to be asking these candidates and all legislative candidates where they stand on the merger, where they stand on the upcoming Duke and Progress rate hikes, and where they stand on the Annual Rate Hike Bill that Duke's Rogers told the Utilities Commission they had to have to make the consumers pre-finance new nuclear plants. Voters should interview these folks videoing them with their cell phones and post the footage on this site.

The power of power

It seems like greed on steroids when it comes to dealing with these energy dudes. Isn't there enough profit in being an honest broker?