By Robert Trigaux
A North Carolina utility watchdog group and well-known critic of Duke Energy joined six other environmental, labor and religious organizations Wednesday to petition North Carolina’s attorney general to force Duke to amend its corporate charter due to “a persistent pattern of criminal activity” of harming the environment.
The watchdog group, N.C. WARN, and its partners want Duke to phase out its coal-fired power plants in five years, stop blocking alternative energy competition, and be prohibited from making political contributions or attempting to influence the political process. While it is illegal for corporations to contribute to political campaigns, they can contribute through political action committees, as Duke Energy does. It is also legal for companies to advocate on behalf of their interests.
The group said it will launch a TV ad campaign and outreach effort across North Carolina.
A spokeswoman for North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper told the Raleigh News & Observer that the office would review N.C. WARN’s 78-page “emergency complaint.” A Duke Energy spokeswoman called the action a “nuisance filing” that wastes public resources.
The complaint was filed in North Carolina, where Duke Energy is headquartered. But many of the allegations involve actions taken by Duke Energy Florida that affected its 1.7 million Florida ratepayers.