A Durham advocacy group is making an 11th-hour appeal to North Carolina regulators to allow greater scrutiny of the proposed merger between Progress Energy and Duke Energy during Monday’s scheduled public hearing.
N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network contends in a filing made Thursday morning that the public has a right to know about the private deals Raleigh-based Progress and Charlotte-based Duke have struck with more than 15 large wholesale and industrial power customers.
The environmental organization says the power companies haven’t proven the private deals are trade secrets protected by state law and shielded from the public. N.C. WARN also argues that the side deals may be detrimental to other customers.
“The question is how can a large wholesale customer … be harmed if the new Duke Energy passes on fuel savings or if the customer is promised a discounted rate in the future in exchange for not challenging the merger,” N.C. WARN wrote in its emergency appeal.
The N.C. Utilities Commission has scheduled a public hearing Monday on the pending merger, but the scope of the hearing is strictly limited to three documents filed in May and June. The N.C. commission said that N.C. WARN can ask only about those filings, but can’t introduce new information or raise new issues.
N.C. WARN has attempted to raise a host of concerns – including rumors that Duke Energy’s board is reviewing Progress Energy’s ballooning nuclear-repair costs, and speculation that Duke is in talks to buy a stake of another utility’s nuclear plant.