By John Murawski
Durham advocacy group NC WARN is continuing to press state regulators to undo the merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy, using some of its strongest language to date to denounce the $32 billion deal.
On Tuesday NC WARN told the N.C. Utilities Commission it had discovered an internal document that suggests “criminal misconduct and perjury” on the part of Progress and Duke officials in the weeks leading up to their merger.
NC WARN director Jim Warren said the document demonstrates that the companies were deliberately withholding information from each other, from regulators and from shareholders.
“The shareholders are looking at at $2 billion to $3 billion lunch that they may have to eat,” Warren said.
The Utilities Commission has been investigating the merger since Charlotte-based Duke fired CEO Bill Johnson the same day the merger closed July 2. The commission had approved the merger June 29 on the understanding that Johnson, who had led Raleigh-based Progress, would lead the combined company.
It’s not clear how the Commission is assessing NC WARN’s claims, but the answer may be coming soon. The investigation is being conducted behind closed doors and is expected to produce a summary or report of findings in the coming weeks.