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Welcome to 2019Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - January 3, 2019
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.