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Welcome to 2020Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - January 6, 2020
Rate increases and coal ash again dominated the Duke Energy news in 2019. People wanted to be protected from the dangers of coal ash. Of course Duke wanted to spend the least penny possible and sell it as a solution. Duke has touted Cap-In-Place (the equivalent of throwing a blue tarp over the ash lagoons) for years. Duke claimed the "blue tarp solution" will solve all the coal ash problems. But the decades of accumulated ash would still be in contact with the ground water for eternity.
The persistence of the public and environmental groups paid off. Duke finally agreed to permanently close the remaining nine coal ash basins in NC. Seven of them will be excavated and ash moved to lined landfills. Duke is always willing to do the right thing, but ONLY if forced to.
This will not solve all the coal ash problems. For years coal ash has be used as fill for new construction. To make matters worse, often no records were kept. All that is known is that lots of coal ash is buried in NC, but it is unknown where.
It remains to be seen if the cancer outbreaks in Mooresville and Cornelius are ever tied to coal ash exposure.
The federal government concluded that nuclear plants are venerable to an electromagnetic pulse attack resulting in meltdowns and radiation deaths. It may not give you a warm, fuzzy feeling to know that in 2019 Duke Energy paid a record $10 million fine for 127 grid security violations. E&E News wrote: "If you're not paying attention to regulatory compliance, how close are you paying attention to safety?"
In 2019 Duke Energy announced that Crystal River Nuclear Plant would be decommissioned about 50-years early. The plant has suffered a comedy of errors over the years. Duke was stuck with the Crystal River money pit after buying Progress. Some say it was constructed out of weaker shell concrete. The reactor walls cracked more than once. After patching the damage, the tendons were tightened in sequence. This put maximum stress on the fragile wall. It cracked again!
Happy New Year!
Source: media reports.
Former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers passed away December 18, 2018. Jim Rogers was always willing to talk with anyone.
Duke Energy coal ash spills and rate increases were again in the news in 2018. Duke Energy admitted to coal ash contaminating groundwater. Duke wanted six more months to close coal ash basins at the Sutton Plant. Coal ash was exposed near Lake Norman High School. 40,000 tons were dumped there in 2001. Water tests at the school ran $18,000. Hurricane Florence caused coal ash spills at Sutton Lake and Hurricane Michael caused power outages. Waterkeeper Alliance and Earthjustice said Cape Fear arsenic was 71 times higher than state's drinking water standard. Two environmental groups said coal ash in Neuse River caused arsenic levels to be nearly 18 times higher than the state safety standard for drinking water. Danielle Bailey-Lash was diagnosed with stage 3 astrocytoma, a form of brain cancer. She feels it was caused by living near coal ash and said "I'm 100% sure I know what caused it: Duke Energy." Radioactivity has been detected under coal ash dumps in groundwater. The groundwater arsenic standard is 10 parts per billion; the highest reading was 158 ppb near the Dan River plant in Eden. Potentially lethal beryllium has been found in groundwater at Allen plant. Duke pleaded guilty 18 times to 9 coal ash crimes on the Catawba, Neuse, Dan, French Broad, and Cape Fear Rivers. Duke Energy remains on criminal probation because of illegal practices at their coal ash storage sites. NC Utilities Commission rejected a 2018 Duke Energy rate hike request. It also found problems with Duke Energy's management practices and imposed a $70 million penalty. Commissioners cited "irresponsible management" of its ash pits. NC Utilities Commission required Duke to return to ratepayers an annual $212 million windfall gained from changes in federal tax law. The Commission also rejected the Duke plan to collect $201 million annually from customers to cover future coal ash cleanup. NC Attorney General Josh Stein appealed a decision by the N.C. Utilities Commission to force Duke customers to pay for cleaning up coal ash dumps. In a statement he said "Duke Energy knew coal ash was toxic for years and failed to act responsibly. Therefore, it's wrong to put all the costs of cleaning it up on the people of NC." After all this, Duke wants less EPA regulations! .
Coal plants did not have all the news coverage. An emergency was declared at Brunswick nuclear plant as all personnel blocked from entering the facility.
Duke continues to invent ways to increase customer costs: coal ash disposal charges, "grid modernization" and a basic, monthly service charge (use zero electricity and still get a bill!). As long as Duke can continue to privatize the profits and socialize the costs, the millions will keep rolling in.
Some will blame Lynn Good for everything because she is the CEO. But Duke's problems have been festering for over a century, and were not caused by Ms. Good. One employee was so impressed with Ms. Good that he put a "LYNN GREAT" plaque in his work area.
It's easy to compare Duke with the federal government. Presidents will come and go, but the deep state actually controls much of the country's direction. It's said that one cannot fight city hall. Well, try fighting the CIA! Just like the federal government, Duke has its deep state equivalent. It will always be there as CEOs come and go. Some of it is actually good, but much of it is rotten to the core.
Legal Action was taken to Ban Duke Energy's $80 million annual Influence Spending. Will Rogers said "America has the best politicians money can buy." Duke appears to be willing to play ball with them.
Duke used to give Cincinnati customers passes to see a holiday toy train exhibit. Customers can still see the trains, but it will now cost $14.50. Duke sent annual emergency planning calendars to nuclear plant neighbors. Duke figured out how to save a few pennies on each mailing. Now only a small booklet is sent with no calendar, at least at some nuclear plants. Duke was under no obligation to send calendars or give train display passes to customers. But after all of Duke's bragging about how big it is, one wonders if the wolf is now at the door. Or maybe by skimping here and there, Duke can add the savings to the $80 million annual Influence Spending.
A Duke attorney offers a solution to those concerned about rising power bills - JUST EAT LESS.
Happy New Year!
Source: media reports.
Welcome to 2018