Utilities Commission denies motion to compel disclosure in power plant case
Statement by Director Jim Warren:
Durham, NC – The NC Utilities Commission has denied our motion to require Duke Energy to stop hiding information critical to the utility’s case to build a large gas-fired power plant in Asheville.
This case is a statewide fight – moving toward a public meeting in Raleigh February 22 – with national ramifications over the future of the natural gas industry, the climate crisis and Duke Energy’s business model.
The Commission is backing Duke’s claim that broad blocks of information are protected by confidentiality rules, although other regulatory experts say most of the data should be open to public view.
Based on what is available in the application and discovery replies from Duke, we remain convinced that:
• the new plant is not needed due to a glut of regional generation available;
• that it would speed global warming due to large methane leakage throughout the natural gas industry,
• that it would risk rate spikes for all Duke Energy customers due to the extreme price and supply volatility of gas.
The Duke-protective actions of the legislature and regulators are perfectly emblematic of why NC WARN and allies have an Emergency Complaint pending with Attorney General Roy Cooper to alter Duke’s corporate charter and restrict its influence.
As NC WARN told Duke CEO Lynn Good in a letter last week, as a monopoly with guaranteed profit – a benefit designed to cover risk – Duke Energy is not allowed to withhold from the public information critical to understanding the need and costs of building power plants.