Comment and analysis on all things Charlotte

Duke Energy silliness, part I

This involves silly things done to Duke Energy in response to its firing of former Progress Energy chief Bill Johnson as its CEO minutes after the two companies official merged. Some sort of sanction was certainly appropriate, but the options state regulators opted for are questionable. As the Charlotte Observer reports:

CEO Jim Rogers will retire when his contract expires at the end of 2013, with conditions on who may succeed him. Two top lieutenants will be replaced, while a former Progress executive will be brought back as a consultant. Two new directors will be named, neither of whom may have ties to Duke or Progress.

“Just as a general principle, this is absurd in a lot of respects,” said Wake Forest University business professor Dan Fogel, who teaches strategy in Charlotte. “The absurdity is to dip so far into the business as to tell them how to operate and even the number of employees (1,000) to keep in Raleigh.”

Those terms, he said, could make it harder to find a successor for Rogers and dampen North Carolina’s business climate.

Well said.

5 Responses to “Duke Energy silliness, part I”

  • Nov

    Michael, help me out here–“Some sort of sanction was certainly appropriate …”

    Did I miss something, or did the Duke board do something illegal? If so, then a sanction might be appropriate, but otherwise, what on earth could possibly be the basis for sanctioning a company for running its business legally?

  • Dec

    Rev. Mike — the N.C. Utilities Commission felt that Duke, a regulated monopoly, mislead it in a material matter when the commission was considering the Duke/Progress merger. And, well, it did.

    I would argue that different rules should apply to Duke and other regulated monopolies. Should the N.C. Utilities Commission care about who’s in charge of Duke after the merger? Maybe. Not that that really matters — the commission clearly felt that management structure was an issue and when Duke then said one thing to it but did another, a sanction was appropriate.

  • Dec

    Commissioners in IN, SC, KY, FL, and OH are a bunch of pikers then. Why not require 55 people in Asheboro while you are at it? Duke didn’t do anything wrong. PGN was on the block with Dominion, SoCo, and Duk circling because of how well their mgmt had done with the rump company they had. Johnson was CEO at DUK for too long as it was. The commission has set in motion an additional mgmt dance that will cost Duke more experienced execs.

    How’d you like to be in the negotiating position of McArthur?

  • Dec

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving CEO.. When will they get the $10,000,000 still owed them/us they lent out to President Cover Up?

  • Dec

    When Mussolini ran the trains we rightly called it fascism. When the N.C. Utilities Commission forces us to buy power from Duke and then tells Duke how to run its business, we falsely call it “consumer protection”.

    It is time to embrace the separation of Energy and State, and to end all government-imposed monopolies. If Duke had to spend its energy (no pun intended) competing for customers, it might not have the time to develop backroom merger deals.

February 2016
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