Duke Energy CEO apologizes to regulator over probe

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 11, 2012 at 8:00 pm •  Published: December 11, 2012
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The head of Duke Energy said he regrets that officials with the nation's largest electric company went too far in their criticism of North Carolina regulators responsible for setting rates in its top power market, according to a letter released Tuesday.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission released the letter from Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, which was required by a settlement ending the commission's probe into whether regulators were misled about a surprise CEO switch at the company. Duke Energy's takeover of Raleigh-based Progress Energy ended with the combined company dumping a Progress executive who'd been promised the top job, in favor of Rogers.

Charlotte-based Duke Energy denies any wrongdoing, but apologized and admitted it had "fallen short of the commission's understanding of Duke Energy's obligations" as a regulated utility — language required by the settlement finalized last week.

Rogers also said the company regrets criticizing the commission about its investigation. The expression of regret went a step beyond what the letter was supposed to contain.

"I wish we could retract the statements made regarding the manner in which the hearings were conducted and regarding the commission's actions. We cannot undo what was said, but we acknowledge that our public criticism of the commission was inappropriate," Rogers' letter said. "We take our bond of trust with all regulators very seriously, and will work hard to continue to earn and maintain your trust."

Rogers and Duke Energy board members called to testify during hearings the commission held in July urged the regulator to drop its investigation and let the company focus on integrating the two Fortune 500 energy companies based in North Carolina. The deal created the nation's largest electric company. Duke director Ann Maynard Gray called the regulatory body's inquiry "unwarranted."

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