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By The Commentators

Duke-Progress Merger: A Net Public Soaking?

By The Commentators Posted August 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm

NC WARN has long opposed Duke Energy’s takeover of Progress Energy for a host of reasons.  Foremost is that the merger would strengthen Duke’s business model of using climate-wrecking fossil fuels for decades to come – while raising rates dramatically to build unneeded nuclear power plants.
 
In June, we called on the Utilities Commission to unseal 17 secret deals Duke used to gain merger support from large customers – because those deals would raise rates for other customers.   Recently the Commission ordered Duke to unseal most of those settlements.  
 
Duke Energy and the Commission claim the merger will save all customers a little money.
 
But NC WARN contends that Duke hid plans to spend over $2 billion and raise rates accordingly.
 
Also, as we warned the Commission weeks before it approved the merger, Duke was very likely withholding information on the cost of repairing a Florida nuclear plant – a multi-billion dollar fiasco that will indirectly impact North Carolina customers.
 
NC WARN has been critical of the Utilities Commission and news media for focusing on the CEO soap opera – which is distracting attention from the Commission’s primary legal duty: ensuring the merger provides a net benefit to the public. 
 
Now, investigations by the Commission and Attorney General Cooper must move past the CEO drama – and determine why Duke failed to disclose billions in costs to ratepayers.
 
The Commission must force this corporate giant to prove – in open hearings – that the merger provides a net public benefit, instead of a net public soaking. 
 
See more at ncwarn.org 
 
Jim Warren
Executive Director

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