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Governor’s recusal sought due to Duke Energy career

Today AARP NC and NC WARN sent the following letter urging incoming Governor McCrory to recuse himself from making several upcoming appointments to the NC Utilities Commission due to his unprecedented conflict of interest – having worked for Duke Energy for 28 years.

January 4, 2013

The Honorable Pat McCrory
Governor of North Carolina
116 West Jones Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603-8001

Re: Conflict of interest in appointments to NC Utilities Commission

Dear Governor McCrory:

In the next several months, you will have the opportunity to appoint several commissioners to the NC Utilities Commission, name its chairman and appoint the executive director of the Public Staff. These are crucial positions for North Carolina’s energy, economic and environmental future, with billions of dollars at stake as the Commission reviews utility companies’ requests for rate hikes and, in our view, unnecessary power plants.

In short, decisions you make now will have profound and costly consequences for decades.

You are, however, in an unprecedented situation. Your former employer, Duke Energy is now the largest electric utility in the country and provides about 97% of the electricity in our state. After being employed at Duke Energy for 28 years, you have an actual conflict of interest. Because of this, we ask you to recuse yourself from making these appointments, and to establish a process for choosing commissioners, the chairman and the executive director that is transparent, ethical and fair to all North Carolinians.

We would be glad to meet with your staff to establish such a process including development of the criteria for selecting commissioners. Retired NC Supreme Court justices and former governors, to name a few obvious choices, could constitute a panel that could propose candidates who have no ties to the utilities being regulated and would conduct themselves in the public interest.

Because of the critical importance of the Utilities Commission, we look forward to your earliest reply regarding how these appointments can best serve the state’s electricity customers.

Sincerely,

Jim Warren
Executive Director
NC WARN

Doug Dickerson
State Director
AARP North Carolina

See our later letters to Governor McCrory:
February 11, 2013: Recuse yourself and oppose Senate Bill 10
February 14, 2013: Recuse yourself and disclose your Duke Energy stock holdings

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