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Media seek records of Duke, Progress power deals

Posted July 12, 2012

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— 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 and Progress have argued to the North Carolina Utilities Commission that the information constitutes a trade secret, but the media companies called that stance "self-serving," noting that the deals aren't internal to one company and therefore cannot be a secret.

"Their terms are known to the parties who negotiated and executed them and to the commission; they are simply not known to the public," attorneys for the media companies stated in a letter Thursday to Commission Chairman Ed Finley.

"Moreover, their economic value is dependent not on their confidentiality, but on the validity of the parties' promises and commitments to each other," the attorneys wrote. "Nothing filed by any parties to the settlement agreements at issue suggests that any of them will be invalidated or abrogated, or that any of the parties will refuse to live up to them, if they are made public."

Duke and Progress completed their merger on July 2, and former Progress Chief Executive Bill Johnson was immediately forced out as president and CEO of the combined firm, replaced by Duke CEO Jim Rogers.

Rogers has since defended himself and the company before the Utilities Commission, Progress employees and others against accusations of deceit. The commission is considering whether to alter its approval of the merger.

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  • JayBird Jul 17, 2012

    show your support for Bill Johnson
    http://mybilljohnsonstory.com/

  • Scubagirl Jul 13, 2012

    "Johnson did to fleece the public. $44 million dollars on top of what he's already been paid. MarcoPolo"

    Please try to grasp the fact that Johnson DID NOTHING but get fired and accept the package offered for his silence! I'm not sure why some are having such a hard time understanding that....

  • maryswilson24 Jul 13, 2012

    Well whatever the media can find out might be useful. Might be something attorney general might use. As controversial as this is we don't know if laws have been broken.

  • miseem Jul 13, 2012

    The Utilities Commission should be disbanded. Regulating utilities is not a role the State needs to own. mindcrime.

    Right. Let Duke, Progress, all of the utilities set their own rates. I'm sure they will be based on concern for their customers, not their stockholders. 20% hike in rates this year? No problem. I'm sure you know more about what to charge than I do. Two days to restore power after a car knocks down one pole? I'm sure you have other, more important priorities. Pollution controls on your coal fired plant not working? I agree with you that keeping the stockholders happy is more important than keeping the air around the plant breathable. Hey, most of the stockholders don't live there anyway. At least you won't have to worry about competition. After years of being a regualted monopoly, you have enough infrastructure to keep anyone from coming into your territory.

  • SARCASTICLES Jul 12, 2012

    Awwww, shucks......just give 'em some even BIGGER tax cuts.....and they'll create JOBS JOBS JOBS. Never mind about them 2000 folks who will lose their jobs because of this corporate farce. Bill Johnson will hire MILLIONS of landscapers, drivers, nannies, and housekeepers with that fat check for 45 million he got.....anyhow, workin' people don't feel pain like rich folks....they can all go catch a rat. :)

  • dshan10670 Jul 12, 2012

    I believe the media should get most of the requested records. I was investing with Duke before and during the Spectra/Duke split and found it hard to get correct information on the split. The same thing is happening now, I asked today and was informed by a Duke rep that it would take ten days from today to get my information to me.

    I would like to see some of the utility commission folks look into why it is necessary to pay the old CEO over 44 million and can someone explain to me just how he caused the company to make that much more money than anyone else would have made? I submit to you that one can throw darts at the wall to make decisions and sometimes make better guesses than those more informed. The utility reps should not confuse education with intelligence.

  • MarcoPolo Jul 12, 2012

    The government is a whole 'nother problem. Politicians are not held accountable anymore.

    Local media lets those guys run free while pushing their own political agendas. I won't ever forget the shananigans that the Democrats did with the midnight vote on the lottery. The media put on a public campaign too. Cohoots for sure.

  • MarcoPolo Jul 12, 2012

    Mindcrime, the problem IS Progress Energy for sure and probably Duke. That is your source and the people that are calling the shots. Look at what Johnson did to fleece the public. $44 million dollars on top of what he's already been paid. I've heard of corporate greed but NEVER anything like this.

    With people like him running the company, the customers have NO chance.

  • MarcoPolo Jul 12, 2012

    More than they doing with the UNC-CHeat scandal.

    Money in all different directions. I'd be real interested to see "other" democrat donations too, besides the 10 million dollars.

  • mindcrime Jul 12, 2012

    The Utilities Commission should be disbanded. Regulating utilities is not a role the State needs to own. It's obvious to anybody that anything the State is involved in will be blighted by corruption, incompetence, nepotism and hubris... and even if that weren't so, any nominally well-intentioned action on the part of the UC will almost certainly have unintended consequences that outweigh any benefit those actions might have.

    The problem isn't Duke Energy and Progress Energy - the problem is government. Remember: There are no good questions for which the correct answer is "more government involvement."

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