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DukeEmployees.com - Duke Energy Employee Advocate


"I thank God that we have a system of labor where there can be a strike." - Abraham Lincoln

Duke Energy "Directions" - September 2000

A New Direction
After three years and 35 issues, Duke Energy Directions is set to chart a new course. A recent communications survey gave the publication high marks, but our readers are clamoring form more. So with this issue, we will retire our award-winning publication. Look for something new in October that will educate, excite, inform and enlighten you…

Translation: After three years of most employees throwing Directions in the trash unread, we will mercifully retire it. A recent survey confirmed the publication was useless.

The new publication is going to educate, excite, inform, and enlighten us? Duke has a history of being long on promises and short on delivery. Or maybe the new publication will announce that all of our revoked pension and medical benefits will be restored.

And another thing, why do these rinky-dink company rags always change names every few years? The Duke Power News was the company newspaper for many years. Then the endless string of spin-offs started. Directions was the worst ever. Good Riddance!

Duke Energy "Directions" - August 2000

Late-Breaking News:

Recent high electricity prices and rolling blackouts have been reported in some regions of California, due to low reserve margins and insufficient electricity supply during peak demand… Duke Energy continues to support deregulation and delivers the solution lies in increasing environmentally friendly energy supply and streamlining permitting and regulation…

Do you remember when it was reported that nuclear energy would be so cheap that no one would bother to meter it? It did not quite work out that way. For over a decade, Duke senior management has been saying that deregulation would be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Customers were going to save a ton of money. It does not seem to be working out that way. Deregulation has NOT been good for the people of California; some are paying electric bills which have nearly doubled in size! All the deregulation hoopla has not been good for Duke employees. The company has used deregulation as an excuse to offer a "new paradigm," to "downsize," and take away employee benefits. Has anyone profited from the plight of the rate payers in California? Yes! Duke has been price gouging with the best of them. That is a top drawing card of deregulation - the opportunity to price gouge. Has anyone profited from our lost benefits? Of course! The more we lose - the more Duke gains. We have become cattle. We are fed now - so we can be eaten later. The new paradigm has turned out to be - more for senior management and less for employees. Duke is certainly not a disinterested party offering deregulation comments. Everything Duke puts out is driven by their desire to shake money out of the market and the employees. Years from now, Duke Energy will be in MBA textbooks as an example of how NOT to run a company!

Duke Energy "Directions" - July 2000

An E-primer
"Pick up any major business publication, and you'll find page upon page dedicated to ways the Internet is changing our lives…; Today, companies large and small are using the Web to communicate - and to connect - with their customers, with other key stakeholders, and to transact business."

Advocate: WOW! You certainly learn something new each day!

But now thing are not as one-sided as they used to be. Thanks to the Internet, Duke cannot suppress information as easily as they once could. Duke prefers that there be only one history, one truth, and one authority for all matters. Of course, Duke wants to be the authority to dictate the truth and history. It is just not that easy anymore. In fact, it is just not possible any more. Employees can now instantly communicate with fellow Duke employees, employees of other corporations, federal government officials, and the media. Now when senior management tries to "spin" black into white, it only makes them look foolish. Anyone who wants to can easily find the real truth to the matter. It is true that some elected officials are in Duke’s pocket. But Duke will never get the Internet into its pocket!

Duke Energy "Directions" - June 2000

The Art Of Change
A senior vice president was asked: "What keeps you awake at night?" Never mind the answer; the question speaks volumes! Just people sleep soundly at night. They have wronged no man and nothing impedes their rest. Schemers, connivers, and rip-off artist toss and turn and fear demons.

Classic Gas
This was a nice article about a Duke helium plant. There was no mention of the Duke hot air plant located in downtown (not uptown) Charlotte, North Carolina. When the cash balance plan was introduced, hot air production increased 20 fold!

Update: Electric Industry Restructuring
Consumer Protection:
"The large industrial and commercial customers, the argument goes, can take care of themselves in a competitive market wile it’s the residential and small business customers who are at risk. Whether true or not,..."

"WHETHER TRUE OR NOT"? The implication is clearly that Duke Energy would never take advantage of the little guy. Someone has been sniffing more than helium! Duke Energy will ruthlessly steam-roll anyone who get in their path to another dollar. That is a matter of record. Consumers and small businesses will need ALL the protection they can get from the likes of Duke Energy. Remember that Rick Priory is a member of the Study Commission on the Future of Electric Service in North Carolina. He will be "looking out" for consumers and small businesses, no doubt.

We Have a Winner!
An employee won a $50 prize by correctly answering the 33 questions in the Annual Report Quiz. Well, he did not really win $50. He will get $50 worth of Duke Energy merchandise. So, the employee won an equivalent cash value of maybe $25. If he could only win 7,999 more such prizes, he might break even on the new pension plan!

Evidently the company wants to encourage employees to actually read the annual reports. The Advocate fully agrees. Employees should not only read the fluff material that Duke presents, but should also read the Security and Exchange Commissions filings.

SEC Quarterly Report Filing, March 2000

Duke Energy "Directions" - May 2000

Business 101
The Muscle and the Hustle of Duke Energy Capital

We know more that we want to about the muscle and hustle of Duke Energy. Duke used its muscle to take much of our retirement benefits. Then tried to hustle us by telling us it was good for us!

One article had this quote: "Business is like horse racing. Money rides on a successful outcome." Have you noticed the influx of casino type language in the last few years? Everything in the company is a gamble now, except our pension. You cannot say the pension conversion was a gamble. With a gamble you have a least some chance of winning. Our pension was fixed so that it was guaranteed that we would lose. That guarantees that Duke will have more money for more muscling and hustling.

Duke Energy "Directions" - April 2000

Duke Energy Merchants
"The Trinidad project establishes Duke Energy’s name in the fertilizer industry..."

Explaining the cash balance pension conversion really established Duke Energy’s name in the fertilizer industry!

Duke Energy "Directions" - March 2000

"Women In Nuclear"
Duke is an equal opportunity employer; the women lost pension benefits and health coverage the same as the men.

"Our Buzzards Are Driving US Batty"
More than 200 buzzards have been spotted on a single transmission tower. Duke is in a quandary about what to do about it. They do not realize that it is an omen. Buzzards typically circle or perch near a perishing victim. Duke has a heavy karmic debt to repay for the ill treatment of its workforce. The raiding of the pension fund and destruction of the health coverage plan will not be without cost. Duke has tried to fool the workers, the media, and Congress. They cannot fool the buzzards!

"Business 101: Earnings Per Share"
"Duke Power enjoys the lowest fuel cost per kilowatt-hour of any station in the country..."

And, they are working on enjoying the lowest workforce cost by cutting every benefit in sight.

February "Directions"

Duke Energy published "Directions" in February 2000.

"Energy of Choice"
This article starts off with a quote from Rick Priory, "We're looking forward to creating some real value for our shareholders and our customers in the Carolinas. We're looking forward to capitalizing on the opportunities of deregulation. It will make for many rewarding opportunities. Change will bring more fun, challenge and excitement in this business. The bottom line is to get through deregulation and into the marketplace. We're ready."

"More fun"? Yes, Mr. Priory. Since you took over it has really been a barrel of laughs around here. The most laughable thing is our pension plan! One group was conspicuously missing from those who will be reaping all the value from deregulation...the employees. But, did anyone really expect anything different? Rick has made it clear time after time where the employees fit in...the very bottom. The employees are regarded as a necessary evil, a burden, a bother. Mr. Priory probably thinks that if he can get down to zero employees, he will then get ALL the money! Mr. Priory is anticipating deregulation like an impatient day trader. Dollar signs are rolling in his eyes like a slot machine. Rick Priory has been preaching for some time that he does not want Duke-Energy to be a utility stock. He has never mentioned the down side of his grand vision. Sure, volatile stocks can appreciate 50 % or more per year. They can also depreciate 50% or more per year! Volatility is a two edged sword. It can slice you off a chunk of profits. It can just as easily slice off your head. Evidently he seeks to control some of this risk by continually hacking away at the employees' benefits. Rick Priory is a member of the "Study Commission on the Future of Electric Service in North Carolina." The 29-member committee is going to make recommendations to the North Carolina General Assembly. Remember what happened to our health and retirement benefits after Rick Priory got his hands on them? Doesn't it give you a warm fuzzy feeling to know that he is helping to write the deregulation laws that will govern his future escapades? We get an uneasy feeling playing in any game where Rick Priory has "shuffled" the deck.

"A Day in the Life..."
Duke-Energy was really worshiped in the article! Here is one of the more minor accolades, "Representing a company with such a fine reputation helps those of us in Washington influence decisions important to each of us at Duke Energy. In this city, you have to have credibility. Your word has to be good. Our goal as individuals representing Duke Energy is Washington is to enhance the company's reputation by dealing with every issue with the utmost integrity. Without it, we won' be effective."

Excuse us. "Your word has to be good"? Do employees count too? Or, is it OK to lie to them? Is it acceptable to break retirement promises made to employees for decades? Is it acceptable to lie to employees for years to get what the company wants and then change the rules? Is it acceptable to change the rules to rob the employees of their retirement promises to enrich the company? "Enhance the company's reputation by dealing with every issue with the utmost integrity."? Was our retirement pension conversion handled "with the utmost integrity."? "...is the first to admit that her team can't do its job in a vacuum" But, by creating one?

"Everybody's Talking"
Rick Priory was again quoted, "What do we need to do to increase the value of our stock? We've got to increase the deal flow in the company. We've got to tell a consistent story, tell it effectively, be present on Wall Street and 'toot our own horn' a bit."

"Increase the deal flow in the company."? The more "deals" the employees get, the more money that "flows" out of our pockets! "We've got to tell a consistent story..."? What kind of people do you know that must get their "story" straight so they won't trip themselves up? "Toot our own horn..."? Sir, you are, by any standards, EXCEEDING ALL EXPECTATIONS in that department!

"Duke Energy's Business 101"
"Coming soon" it is threatened. Be prepared to have your intelligence insulted once again. Be prepared for a third grade level presentation with a ton of cartoons in it. You did know that employees are so stupid that they can only grasp cartoons, didn't you? More ZAX. Please give us more ZAX! ZAX made this issue no less that two times. We thought that ZAX had been abandoned as just another corny Duke failure. ZAX was wearing a "Y2K" shirt (our sides are splitting). Where else but a Duke-Energy publication can we get such great information AND great humor? We really appreciate the company's efforts to get down on our level. Just keep our retirement money and give us more ZAX! Now that "Peanuts" has retired, ZAX will take over the slot, no doubt. Can you believe that Reddy Kilowatt was downsized to be replaced by the likes of ZAX? Just who is he supposed to represent - senior management?

"Rainy-Day Blues"
This article was about Mike Dross. He is a scientist who does Duke's weather forecasting. Well, Mr. Dross does an excellent job. He does such a good job, in fact, that he deserves to have his pension benefits restored! What if Mr. Dross predicted Duke benefit cuts instead of the weather? He could have predicted 100% chance of some employees losing 50% of their retirement benefits!

Just look at the great stuff you have been missing by throwing "Directions" in the trash as soon as you get it!

Duke Energy "Directions"

Duke Energy published a single issue of "Directions" for December 1999 and January 2000 (it's cheaper that way). The article "Show Me the Money," was taken from the recent "Me Too" Symposium. After the word "debt," was an explanation in parentheses, "what is owed." Duke has never been guilty of over estimating the intelligence of its employees. Hey, if we say it over and over, we just might get a grasp of it. Debt is what is owed. Debt is what is owed. Wow, we feel so enlightened. And this presentation was for Duke's "leadership." Duke has sold bonds to European institutional bondholders, "primarily to pension funds..." Let's see how this works. In Europe Duke pays to borrow pension money. In the USA Duke just TAKES ITS EMPLOYEES PENSION MONEY!

Rick Priory wrote "Reflections and Projections.
This quote was in a bold headline: "Our business goals are to deliver to our shareholders what we have committed to them." We are sure Duke will. Just as Duke delivered to the employees on its retirement pension commitments. Well, maybe that's not a good analogy. Duke basically lied to us for years and then decided to give us what they felt like, which was not a lot. Stockholders, if Duke will do it to us, what do you think that they will do for you? Another bold headline was: "We've come light years from where we were at the end of 1997." Yes, you have. Duke has taken even more benefits from the employees! Mr. Priory personal goal is "To get the stock price headed in the right direction." He has put out before that he wants the price of Duke stock to double. Will Duke make more money if the price of stock should double? No. When the stock is issued, the company makes all the money it is ever going to make from the sale. If the stock price should then go to ten thousand dollars a share, the investor reaps the gain; not the company. If the stock price should fall to one dollar per share, the investor takes the loss; the company loses nothing. Then why is Mr. Priory so fixated on the price of stock? The fact that he is sitting on 4.495 million dollars worth of stock options just might figure into the picture (estimated value by the "Charlotte Observer," near the bottom of this page). He could then wash his hands of Duke Energy, and maybe open a multi-level marketing venture with Paul Anderson.

"My, Look How We've Grown!" shows some of Duke's past LEADERS. Yes, Duke once had leaders who actually built the company. Today Duke has been infiltrated with academicians, bean counters, and an assortment of broker types, with day trader mentalities. The employees who built the company are now sold out like so many shares of the Short Line Railroad.

"Drilling for Gas" tells of Duke trying to cut out the middle man by drilling for their own gas. Maybe this will work out better than when they tried the same tactic in the early 1970's by buying coal mining companies. A bitter union fight broke out; the project was a disaster.

"Working Y2K" tells of the many Duke employees who will be working New Year's Eve. A quote from the article: "...I think most Duke Energy employees have a 'we'll do whatever we have to do' mindset. We have a staff of personnel that understand and accept these opportunities to do the right things for the company." That is true, and you know what thanks we get: a hacked up pension.

"A Bill, Some Books, and an Old Buddy Go Online" tells of the items in the "virtual time capsule." "Dog and pony shows" will surely keep the employees' minds off their benefit losses. Longtime, faithful employee Reddy Kilowatt was given the ax some time ago (he lost his pension too).

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