Two WUNC stories on natural gas, the threat of methane to the climate and doubts about future natural gas supply projections.
Piedmont Natural Gas Merger
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Last year Duke Energy acquired Piedmont Natural Gas … a marker of the energy industry’s shift toward using natural gas to produce electricity. Supporters of natural gas say it is cheaper and burns cleaner than coal. But critics argue that methane leaks during storage and transportation, which can accelerate global warming.
The N.C. Utilities Commission has approved Duke Energy’s $4.9 billion purchase of Piedmont Natural Gas, clearing the way for the deal to close early next week. The commission ruled Thursday “the known and potential benefits of the merger are sufficient to offset the potential costs and risks.”
N.C. regulators wrapped up a day-and-a-half evidentiary hearing on Duke Energy’s $4.9 billion purchase of Piedmont Natural Gas Tuesday afternoon… NC WARN Executive Director Jim Warren says a June decision by Commission Chairman Ed Finley barring testimony from NC WARN witnesses about the potential for significantly higher gas prices and significantly smaller natural gas reserves from fracking unnecessarily truncated the hearing.
Commentary by Jim Warren. State regulators have cut another backroom deal with Duke Energy – in the $6 billion merger with Piedmont Natural Gas.
The chief executives of Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas defended their merger Monday under questioning by advocates who hope to derail it. An attorney for NC WARN, a Durham nonprofit, and two other advocacy groups questioned the CEOs on risks to customers of the electric and gas utilities at a hearing before the N.C. Utilities Commission. Read more and watch 1-minute video.
The chief executives of Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas will testify as the N.C. Utilities Commission opens a hearing Monday on Duke’s $4.9 billion acquisition of its Charlotte neighbor. Attorneys for environmental advocates will be allowed to cross-examine Duke CEO Lynn Good and Piedmont’s Thomas Skains.
Today NC WARN filed a petition with the NC Utilities Commission that seeks to end the longstanding pattern of Duke Energy and the regulators deciding billion-dollar cases behind closed doors. Specifically, we’re calling for an open discussion – with all interested parties – on a rules change that would create a fair and transparent process for settling those cases.
The Charlotte Observer reported on our petition July 18, 2016:
Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas CEOs to testify on acquisition