A Duke Energy spokesman later explained that Rogers wasn't warning the largest U.S. electric utility was thinking about moving its headquarters from Charlotte, just that a hostile regulatory environment in North Carolina could weaken Duke and leave it vulnerable to acquisition by a competitor.
Testimony during the commission's hearings and emails released as a result of its investigation indicated that Duke Energy directors considered for months dumping Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson as head of the combined company, a leadership position promised to him and to regulators throughout the 18-month merger process. Johnson was dumped hours after the deal closed July 2, surprising regulators and investors.
Duke Energy hopes the settlement will clear the air as it gears up to ask the regulator to approve two large rate increases in its largest market. Duke Energy has 3.2 million customers in North Carolina and another 3.9 million in South Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Florida.
Rogers will retire by Dec. 31, 2013 — a date announced simultaneously with the settlement.
Johnson was hired last month as chief executive of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation's largest public utility.
Emery Dalesio can be reached at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio