Cutting 17 secret deals with large customers not to oppose the merger and rate increases is WRONG. If you feel the same then I urge you to send a message to NCUC Chairman Ed Finley ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) putting “Merger Docket (Duke – Docket No. E-7, Sub 986, Progress E-2, Sub 998)” in the subject line. Tell him what you, as a ratepayer, think.
Duke Energy, Progress Energy made secret deals to smooth merger
Utilities cut breaks for favored customers if they didn’t oppose their merger
Aug. 24, 2012
“Progress Energy and Duke Energy offered their big-ticket electricity customers substantial sweeteners in exchange for promises not to fight their utility merger, ranging from potential rate cuts and special discounts to lump sum payments.
The terms of those secret deals were made public Friday in response to a request by the N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, a Durham nonprofit, and a media coalition that included The Charlote Observer, to unseal the documents that the power companies and their large customers had fought to keep confidential.”
“The settlements show that large customers won concessions from Progress and Duke early on, even as company executives continued to insist for months they did not plan to offer similar benefits to their residential and small-business customers.
They also show that industrial customers were able to negotiate a 6 percent rate cut even as Progress and Duke officials warned they would seek rate increases this year for households and businesses.”
“A major issue was the severance payments, estimated to come to a quarter of a billion dollars, that Progress and Duke will make to employees who take buyouts or are laid off as a result of the merger, which was completed July 2.
The large customers got guarantees they would not have to pay those merger-related costs, winning assurances nearly a year before Progress and Duke relented and cut a similar deal in May for small customers with the state’s Public Staff consumer advocacy agency.”
“The terms for the rural co-ops and towns include guarantees that they won’t have to pay merger-related costs for as long as a decade, whereas regular customers got a protection of five years, after which time the utilities can charge for transmission upgrades if the Utilities Commission agrees.
And they include payments as small as $5,000 to several towns, and as large as $375,000 to EnergyUnited Electric Membership Corp., a co-op in Statesville that has customers in central and Western North Carolina. These payment are intended to cover any miscellaneous merger-related costs the confidential deals inadvertently overlooked.”
Read the entire article here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/08/24/3476528/deals-show-duke-and-progress-cut.html