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Duke, Progress ordered to release some details of power deals

Posted August 14, 2012

— The North Carolina Utilities Commission on Tuesday ordered Duke Energy Corp. and Progress Energy Inc. to disclose some of the details of deals they cut with major customers before their merger last month.

The order came in response to a public records request by several media companies, including Capitol Broadcasting Co., the parent company of WRAL.

Duke and Progress had argued that the information constitutes a trade secret, but the commission determined that the deals generally don't involve the technical information usually included in a trade secret. The agency also said the the deals have no independent commercial value, and disclosing them wouldn't give anyone else an economic advantage.

Eighty-four provisions in the 17 deals do contain proprietary information, so the utilities can redact those sections from the documents before releasing them, the commission said.

The companies have until Aug. 24 to file the public records with the commission or appeal the ruling.

The move is the latest chapter in the commission's investigation of the merger, which created the nation's largest electric utility.

Former Progress Chief Executive Bill Johnson was forced out as president and CEO of the combined firm within hours of the July 2 merger, replaced by Duke CEO Jim Rogers.

Rogers and Duke directors have defended the company before the Utilities Commission against accusations of deceit made by Progress employees and others. Johnson told commissioners that he became the scapegoat by forcing Duke to go through with the merger despite rising costs.

The commission is considering whether to alter its approval of the merger.

6 Comments

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  • epee131 Aug 15, 5:51 p.m.

    Weak? You have no proof of anything. If Johnson hadn't been ousted until day 31, your case would have nothing. And you don't think additional resources like outside council will need to be called in? You don't think that the utility wont need more people to defend this which will cost shareholders? Unless you have a law degree and are part of the case, you are just another civilian just like the rest of us. Shepard please. You ain't nothin cause if you were you wouldnt be talking. And as to the sheep comment, buddy, I worked for Progress. I know they ain't no purer than Duke. They just spend more money saying they are. Take a look at what they tried to pull in FL to build the new plant. Charging consumers before the plant exists. All legal mind you. Just like Duke. And why do I trust Duke? Same reason I trust a scorpion to sting. If you understand their nature, you can predict their actions. Naive is when you forget it isn't a public service. It ain't supposed to be free.

  • YourConscience Aug 15, 5:06 p.m.

    epee131, very weak. Not only are your comments shortsighted and ingnorant, but quite naive. One, for trusting a company that has clearly been proven to be deceptive, and secondly for thinking millions of additional dollars are being spent. The commission is paid regardless, their budget is set regardless, and it is their mandate to protect consumers including yourself. I'm glad you like paying Duke so much for the last 16 years. They like sheep like you. Just let the sheppards do their job please.

  • epee131 Aug 15, 3:01 p.m.

    Wow. So you think we should pump out millions in tax payer dollars because we might find something? See, I've been a Duke customer for 16 years and I have never had any problems with them. I do trust them. A board is entitled to remove a CEO for any reason at any time. Thats how it works. How far would you go? How much do you think you are entitled to know? How much are you willing to spend? Me, I'm a grownup. I know how this rolls. Let it go. And you're not any one's conscience.

  • YourConscience Aug 15, 2:21 p.m.

    epee131, please keep such shortsighted and ignorant comments to yourself and let the commision do their job. Let me enlighten you, ITS NOT ABOUT JOHNSON. Its about restoring trust. Its about Duke's misleading everyone involved about the truth. Its about the broken trust caused by Duke's board and the possibility of many more unknown lies and deceit which needs to be found for the protection of all consumers in NC. Its about preventing and making clear that any such blatent misrepresentation in the future for any utility will not be tolerated.

  • epee131 Aug 15, 8:48 a.m.

    Stop wasting tax payer money. It's done. Let it go. You won't win. Above all else, if you were willing to let the deal go through only because Bill Johnson was CEO, then you were wrong. What if he slipped on the soap or got hit by a bus? If you have more reasons, and you haven't stated any before, other than Johnson, maybe there is something. But if you are going to derail this because your boy didn't get his chair, then you shouldn't have yours.

  • westernwake1 Aug 14, 5:06 p.m.

    Hopefully these records help make it clear how brutally the shareholders, customers, employees, and customers have been cheated by the Duke executives and board. Cutting special deals with large customers before your merger so the customers will shut up and not oppose the bad deal -- appears to be absurd and an abuse of how the regulatory system should work.