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www.DukeEmployees.com - Duke Energy Employee Advocate

Duke Energy - Page 9

"A pension is nothing more than deferred compensation." - Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law School professor, PBS

Welcome to 2008

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - January 7, 2008

The employee lawsuit against Duke Energy's cash balance plan continues. An all day hearing was held on December 19, 2007.

Duke Energy Cash Balance Hearing

In early 2007, employees learned that the pension lawsuit would remain in South Carolina.

Duke Energy Employees Win Round One!

Mona Lisa Wallace was named North Carolina Super Lawyer. Duke Energy employees have known for years that she is a super lawyer.

Duke Energy Cash Balance Lawsuit

Duke's cash balance plan was touted as being "portable." But it did not work out that way. It took Duke 10 years to get in line with other cash balance plans. Duke hung onto every dime of pension money for as long as possible.

Beginning in 2007, Duke Energy started allowing employees who leave the company before 55 to actually take the money with them. Duke may have been the only corporation that would not let go of the employees’ cash balance money. Duke only paid a low interest rate to the former employees, but the sky was the limit on what it could earn on their pension money. Thus, Duke was able to profit off the pensions of former employees.

Duke Energy Tinkers with Cash Balance Plan

In 2007, two Duke Energy employees were killed by vehicles. Romulo Giraldo was killed in Peru. He left behind a wife and three children.

Jeffrey R. Johnson was struck by a car in Cincinnati. He was working on a gas line on the front lawn of a home when a woman lost control of her car and hit him. He died later that night.

The woman told police that she may have fallen asleep at the wheel. She has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Duke Energy claims that there will be zero injuries, sickness, and deaths at work. But just how are you to avoid a car that leaves the road to come after you?

Duke Energy keep trying to sell the lie that all accidents are avoidable. Anyone who believes this does not have the mental toughness to run a corporation.

Duke continues to crank out safety banners, slogans, and initiatives.

Another Duke Energy Safety Initiative

Some company sycophant is always saying that if employees can go for a period of time without any accidents that this proves that accidents can be eliminated. Working for a certain period of time with no accidents proves nothing!

Any simpleton can, after the fact, cherry pick a specific period of time and say "Look! There were no accidents" That is a far cry from eliminating all injuries, sickness, and deaths.

After every accident, Duke always explains why it was the employee's fault and what he should have done to prevent it. Duke will really be grasping at straws on this one.

In spite of all the zero injuries talk, 2007 started out with a serious injury.

Duke Energy Bucket Truck Fall

Four Duke Energy Contractors Injured

Duke Energy retirees keep getting taken to the cleaners on insurance premiums.

Duke Energy Retirees Take an Insurance Hit

Duke Energy probably made history by demanding a rate increase and getting a rate reduction.

Attempted Rate Hike Leads to Pension Questions!

Jim Rogers was named CEO of the Year in 2007.

Jim Rogers: CEO of the Year

Duke Energy had a typical ham handed reaction to students protesting its proposed coal plant.

Students Arrested Protesting Duke Coal

2007 was the last year employees were covered with orthodontic insurance.

Orthodontic Insurance - Use It or Lose It

Duke Energy is still leading the easily controllable employees to do its political bidding. Duke directs everything, but claims it is a "grassroots" effort.

Duke Energy's Political Mind Control

Duke never seems to have money to make good on health care and pension promised to employees. But it has money for lobbyists.

Duke Energy's $100,000 Lobbyist Bill

Commissioner Dave Hoyle Jr., son of Sen. Hoyle, was accused of conflict of interest concerning Duke Energy’s lake control.

A Chip Off the Old Blockhead?

Ratepayers continue to pay the price of energy deregulation.

The Electric Deregulation Nightmare

VP Dick Cheney fought for years to keep his energy secrets hidden from the public. But they started to slip out in 2007.

Cheney's Energy Secrets Revealed

There was an employee opinion survey in 2007. To the amazement of all, the results were actually published!

2007 Employee Opinion Survey

Duke Energy picked off a few nuclear employees in 2007 with the promise of retirement insurance money. The employees had to sign away all claims to any cash balance plan settlement.

Insurance Money for Nuclear Employees

For years, tobacco companies repeatedly told the public that cigarettes did not cause cancer. Power companies are now telling the public that power lines do not cause cancer.

Cancer Linked to Power Lines

It did not go unnoticed by Tommy Tomlinson that Duke Energy will tell two conflicting stories at the same time.

Duke Works Both Sides of Climate Issue

Reddy Kilowatt made a surprise appearance in 2007.

A Reddy Kilowatt Christmas

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2007

Duke Energy Cash Balance Hearing

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - December 20, 2007

An all day Duke Energy Cash Balance hearing was held Wednesday, Dec. 19. The hearing was held in U. S. District Court, Florence SC.

The court covered a lot of territory, but one issue will require further documentation from the attorneys of both sides. No rulings have yet been issued as a result of this hearing.

The first hearing was held Nov. 7, 2006, in U. S. District Court, Greenville SC.

Duke Energy Employees Win Round One!

Santa Gives Stocking Full of Coal to Governor

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - December 10, 2007

This article was published by the Indy Star on 12/6/07.

Statehouse protesters object to power plant

By Bill Ruthhart

Environmental groups gathered at the Statehouse today to protest Gov. Mitch Daniels' support for Duke Energy's planned coal plant in southwestern Indiana.

One of the demonstrators, dressed as Santa, delivered a large, coal-filled stocking to the governor's office and proclaimed Daniels was on his naughty list for supporting a plant that will further add to global warming and the melting of the North Pole. Jane Jankowski, the governor's press secretary, responded by handing Santa milk and cookies.

About three dozen people took part in the protest, chanting "No New Coal" outside of Daniels' office.

"For the past year, thousands of people from across the state have expressed their opposition to the plan from a ratepayers' perspective and from an environmental perspective," said Dave Menzer, utility campaign organizer for the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana. "This is the dirtiest approach we could take to meet our energy needs."

Last month, state utility regulators cleared the way for Duke Energy to build a $2 billion electric power plant at Edwardsport, about 50 miles south of Terre Haute.

Duke says the coal-gasification plant would replace an existing Edwardsport plant, producing four times as much energy with much less environmental impact.

Such plants crush high-sulfur coal and add water to it to form a slurry, which is heated to extract a synthesis gas. The gas, in turn, is used to generate electric power using combustion and steam turbines. Plants include equipment to remove nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions.

The Citizens Action Coalition, Sierra Club, Save the Valley, Public Citizen and other green groups say Indiana electric customers should not have to pay for expensive unproven technology. Duke notes that the Indiana Wildlife Federation and the National Clean Air Task Force do like the proposed coal-gasification system because it would reduce emissions.

Duke still needs an air emissions permit from Indiana's Department of Environmental Quality before it can begin construction. Duke says its 770,000 customers would pay for the plant with higher rates. A typical bill would increase 16 percent, the utility said.

Students Arrested Protesting Duke Coal

Jim Rogers: CEO of the Year

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - December 2, 2007

Jim Rogers was named CEO of the Year at Platts Global Energy Awards, according to The Charlotte Business Journal. There were over 200 nominations for the title.

Jim Rogers said "I accept this award as affirmation and motivation that we can and will become an industry capable of meeting our customers' growing energy needs in an environmentally responsible manner."

There are few people who could have filled Paul Anderson's shoes. Jim Rogers is filling them.

Students Arrested Protesting Duke Coal

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - November 16, 2007

This story was published by The Charlotte Observer on Nov. 15, 2007:


Two Asheville students upset about Duke Energy Corp.'s plans to build a new coal-fired project in the Blue Ridge foothills chained themselves to the utility's uptown front doors today, resulting in their arrest on trespassing and disorderly conduct charges.

The two also chained the front door closed.

The students arrested were Nina Otter, 21, and Meagan Goodman, 18. They attend Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa near Asheville, said friend Sarah Murphy, a resident hall director at the school and one of the organizers of the lunchtime protest.

"There are plenty of other entrances. We didn't feel like it was a safety issue," Murphy said of chaining the door. "We're trying to say, coal is bad. We're trying to promote clean renewable energy."

The students were part of a larger group of 15 that drove in from the Asheville area Thursday to protest outside Duke's uptown headquarters on Church Street.

They held signs to protest the utility's plans to build the $2.4 billion coal-fired power unit at its Cliffside facility, about 55 miles west of Charlotte. They donned Santa Claus hats, rang sleigh bells and wore T-shirts that read "Elves for Clean Energy."

Opponents of the project say carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired plants, a major source of the gas, are a cause of the global warming problem. Rising temperatures are melting polar ice and threatening polar bear habitat. Scientists fear greater environmental repercussions, including coastal flooding and super hurricanes.

Duke and other utilities say they must use the cheap and plentiful fossil fuel to ramp up power production to meet growing demand in the Charlotte region and around the country.

Chief executive Jim Rogers said he appreciated the students' concern and the value of protest. He pointed out Duke's plans for energy efficiency programs and to buy more power from renewable sources in the future.

"When you grow up in the sixties ... I appreciate what they're doing," said Rogers, who is 60 years old. "I have struggled with the same issues. I would ask them to step back and put themselves in my shoes and think about my responsibility. ... They are very focused on the clean (aspects). That's their mission. That's why they're there. But at the end of the day, it's also about affordability and reliability."

The two students were arrested and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting a public officer, said Robert P. Fey, public affairs officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The Charlotte fire department issued one of the arrested students a ticket for locking an exit door to an occupied structure, he said.

Deadly Soot

Orthodontic Insurance - Use It or Lose It

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - November 5, 2007

Original Duke Energy employees have orthodontic insurance, but adult coverage will be chiseled away in 2008.

This benefit cutback may have blown up in Duke's face. Some employees have been considering having orthodontic procedures for years. Most probably would have procrastinated and never actually made an appointment. But since Duke is taking away the coverage, they are now lining up at orthodontic clinics. Duke has effectively prodded employees to have their teeth straightened. The law of unintended consequences is alive and well.

The Employee Advocate encourages all employees to visit an orthodontist this year. There is often no charge for an initial evaluation. There is also an option to going around for years with a mouth full of wire. A series of clear plastic aligners take the place of wire or bands. You can remove them whenever you want. The aligners are manufactured using Computer Aided Design technology. Your teeth will be gradually moved into the proper position.

Be aware that there is a discrepancy between what Duke Energy has told employees and what the insurance company says. Duke answered a question by saying that if treatment is started before 2008, it will be covered until completed. The insurance company says coverage ends at the end of 2007, period.

There is still a way to get the full benefit amount, with no whining. The orthodontic insurance pays for 50% of the treatment cost, with a $1,500 maximum. Make a total of $3,000 in orthodontic payments this year, and you are unquestionably entitled the $1,500 benefit. Duke can do whatever it wants in 2008, you will have already received the maximum orthodontic benefit.

If you have even vaguely considered orthodontic treatment, do not delay; make an appointment for an evaluation now. Use it or lose it.

Duke Energy's CFO on the Status of Pension Funds

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - October 22, 2007

Chief Financial Officer David Hauser posted a message to employees, addressing the recent media coverage of Duke Energy's pension plans. NC utility regulators questioned Duke Energy Carolinas' $600 million in unfunded retirement benefits. The story "got legs" and quickly spread among Duke Energy employees.

Mr. Hauser is a very competent CFO, and it was appropriate for him to quickly address the matter. Duke Energy may be learning that it cannot make its problems go away simply by ignoring them. It may also be learning that it cannot make the employees' concerns go away by pretending that they do not exist. Duke Energy has denied that there are problems with its cash balance conversion for over 10 years. Denying the problems and ignoring the employees only bought Duke Energy a federal lawsuit.

Mr. Hauser assured employees that the $4.4 billion total in all plans was adequate to meet its obligations. He said that pre-funding retiree medical benefits is not legally required and does not offer the same tax benefits as funding pension plans.

It is true that an underfunded pension fund does not necessarily mean that employees will not receive all of their benefits. It is also true that an overfunded pension fund does not guarantee that employees will receives all of the benefits that they have been promised.

The cash balance conversion guaranteed that many employees would never receive the benefits that Duke had repeatedly promised them. If $600 million is taken from future retirees' pension checks, that is a $600 million windfall for the executives to play with.

Duke Energy has burned the employees once. The employee goodwill bank account is severely overdrawn. Duke Energy has lost credibility with employees. So all company explanations, no matter how factual, sound like just so much propaganda.

When news articles mentioned a $600 million retirement under funding, it seemed like pension deja vu. The under funding issue is a matter of perception. The cash balance losses are not merely perceived losses, they are real.

Employees know that the cash balance conversion losses may not be the last ones to come. When it appears that Duke is reluctant to fully fund the plans, employees wonder what the next benefits reduction game will be.

The credibility of Jim Rogers and David Hauser is overshadowed by the specter of the cash balance plan. It sullies everything said. The cash balance plan is the mammoth in the room. It’s big, wild, and dangerous. Duke Energy cannot hide from it, run from it, or successfully ignore it.

Attempted Rate Hike Leads to Pension Questions!

Attempted Rate Hike Leads to Pension Questions!

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - October 18, 2007

No one can accuse the N.C. Utilities Commission of letting Duke Energy lead it around by the nose. Duke's attempt to float a rate increase through the commission sunk like a lead balloon. It may even go down in history as the world's worst rate increase attempt!

First, instead of getting a rate increase, Duke ended up having to make a $233 million settlement with ratepayers. That means that there will be a rate reduction, rather than an increase.!

Then Duke Energy was accused of shortchanging ratepayers out of millions of dollars in savings, due to the merger with Cinergy.

The Utilities Commission also asked Duke Energy about the very thing that it never wants to talk about – the PENSION! Duke has been trying to hide from the pension issue since 1997, but keeps running right into it. The regulators questioned Duke Energy Carolinas' $600 million in unfunded retirement benefits.

It’s not too hard to run up unfunded liabilities when a corporation seldom makes a contribution to the plan. Duke Energy made no contributions to the retirement plan in 2005 or 2006.

The Duke Energy vice president of accounting for utility operations had an answer, of sorts. Dwight Jacobs said that Duke decided the money could be more efficiently invested elsewhere, but he didn't know where.

That is the crux of the pension problem. Corporations tend to view pension funds as potential profit centers, rather than obligations to be met. Pension funds are obligation to the employees responsible for generation all the profits. The cash balance conversion equaled reduced corporate liabilities. This meant that employees would not received the full pension benefits that they had earned. For years after the conversion, no pension contributions were made.

Even after the cash balance conversion and ending health insurance at age 65, there were still unfunded liabilities. Duke Energy had approximately $1.5 billion of unfunded retirement liability at the end of 2006, including pensions and retirement health-care.

Consumer advocates have accused Duke Energy of trying to stick ratepayers with a $9 million-a-year tab for the GridSouth gamble that failed. In 2001, then CEO Rick Priory said "We're off and running with GridSouth… It will happen."

Well, something happened - a $70 million disaster. GridSouth worked about as well as all the other deregulation ventures.

Remember GridSouth?

At the same time as the rate hearing turmoil, the N.C. Attorney General's Office accused Duke Energy of too aggressively collecting delinquent accounts. Sometimes innocent parties would be stuck with the bills of others.

The N.C. Utilities Commission has been burned once by Duke. In 2002, Duke Energy tried to smooth over the matter of understated profits with the Commission. It did not smooth over.

NC Regulators Approve Duke Settlement

Sources: The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer.

Employee Opinion Survey Transparency

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - October 16, 2007

In the September Open Forum, it was mentioned that the 2007 survey results would be posted soon. The Employee Advocate wrote: "Expect that to be Spin City."

Amazingly, 9 years of survey data was posted! There was no attempt to spin away the less than stellar survey results.

In cases like this, The Employee Advocate does not mind being wrong. For years Duke has spun and hidden the survey results. Duke could never see that no matter how bad the data was, hiding it only made it seem worse. Many corporations talk a lot about transparency, but Jim Rogers is actually delivering it.

You will never find any questions about the pension or cash balance plan. That is one question that Duke Energy does not want to hear the answer.

The closest question to asking about benefits was: "In comparison with people in similar jobs in other companies, I feel my pay is..."

The question scored dead last at 11% positive!

5,300 comments were submitted with the surveys. One wonders how many of those comments were concerning benefits.

2007 Employee Opinion Survey

A Mayor in the Pocket is Worth 2 in the Bush

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - October 11, 2007

The Charlotte Observer published this story on 10/10/07:

Mayor: Both jobs help me sell city

by Jim Morrill

His Duke Energy office is a sparse second-floor cubicle, surrounded by a maze of identical blue-green squares. His city office occupies a spacious corner on the top floor of the Government Center, with skyline views and a single computer atop his desk. It belongs to Duke Energy.

Charlotte's Republican Mayor Pat McCrory likes to say that he has two full-time jobs, a schedule he's juggled for 12 years.

It's the kind of juggling act that's grown increasingly difficult for many elected officials, and one that dissuades others from running for public office.

McCrory is the closest to a full-time mayor Charlotte has had, though the job is part time and pays accordingly. At Duke, where he's a senior adviser in the economic development group, his pay is full time, but his schedule less clear.

Neither he nor his boss will say how much he works.

"I don't keep track of hours," says supervisor Tony Alameida. "We pay people for results."

McCrory's arrangement clearly benefits him as well as Duke. The company appears to give him wide latitude and uses his status as mayor to help woo corporate customers.

Some Duke employees privately grumble that they rarely see McCrory. Some city council members call his Duke salary "a scholarship" that supports his city business. And some critics see a conflict of interest.

Democratic rival Beverly Earle suggested McCrory's Duke connection might be the reason more solar -- as opposed to electrical -- lights haven't been installed on uptown interstates. McCrory dismisses the claim and says the city pushed for solar only after the state dragged its feet on conventional lighting.

Earle and other critics also cite McCrory's refusal this year to sign a U.S. Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement. More than 450 mayors across the country did, agreeing to cut greenhouse gases to reduce harmful climate changes. Democrat Jennifer Roberts, chairman of the Mecklenburg County commissioners and a supporter of the agreement, says McCrory's employment isn't "inherently a conflict."

"Certainly one could ask the question because he is employed by Duke," she says. "(But) that's what you get when you have part-time politicians."

Duke never took a position on the climate agreement, a spokesman says. McCrory says he based his refusal on language he calls "very political" and "unrealistic." He says it had nothing to do with his employer. On that and other matters involving the utility giant or its subsidiaries, he says he goes out of his way to avoid conflicts, often recusing himself from votes or debates. "I know where to draw the line," he says.

Cost, benefits of elected office

McCrory, 50, has been with Duke since graduating from Salisbury's Catawba College in 1978.By 1993, the year he won his third term on the City Council, he was manager of Duke's corporate training. In 2000, five years after he was elected mayor, he was manager of business relations. He moved into his non-management job four years ago.

"I had to give up management responsibilities because I could be called off at a moment's notice," he says. "My public service has come at a sacrifice to my career, my pocketbook, my physical well-being and my family."

Now McCrory helps recruit corporate customers for Duke. Among those he helped land, Alameida says, is the new National Gypsum plant in Mount Holly. This month he gave a prospective corporate customer a private tour of uptown.

"I was primarily playing the role of mayor," McCrory says. "I did not get involved specifically talking about Duke Energy being an electrical provider. I sold Charlotte."

He calls his day job "a good complement."

"Part of my role as mayor of Charlotte is I sell Charlotte," he says. "And so do my colleagues and I with Duke Energy."

Being able to call on the mayor to lure businesses is clearly a boon to Duke.

"Obviously that move (to economic development) had a lot to do with his ability, (but) to have him as a mayor is a very powerful tool," says Don Hatley, Duke's retired senior vice president of governmental affairs.

Job overlap

As mayor, McCrory makes $19,673 a year. In one recent week, his public calendar covered nearly 24 hours of meetings, ground-breakings and other public appearances. It doesn't include staff meetings or time he spends in national roles with the U.S. Conference of Mayors or a U.S. Homeland Security advisory committee.

Neither McCrory nor Duke will divulge his salary or his hours. Duke encourages many employees to work at home. McCrory says he does Duke business at home, at work and even at City Hall.

State Sen. Malcolm Graham, a former Democratic council member, says, "People are envious that Duke Power has been such a good corporate citizen that it allows him to be mayor."

The difficulty of balancing a job and the increasingly complex demands of public service are big reasons more people don't run for office. Spartanburg Mayor William Barnet, a Duke board member, says companies struggle for balance themselves.

"You have an overwhelming responsibility to shareholder value," he says, "but you also have a responsibility to be good citizens."

Support has its limits.

Republican Pat Mumford, stepping down after six years on the City Council, says making time for his job as manager of environmental affairs at Wachovia was "a large part of my decision."

"My family was first, but a career is important to me," he says. "It just became too difficult to balance. ... You still have to earn your paycheck at the office. And it's becoming more and more difficult to do that."

McCrory says one reason he joined Duke was its commitment to public service.

"They believe," he says, "that also helps the company and, in turn, helps the community."

Decision 2007

Does Charlotte Need a Full-Time Mayor?

No N.C. city has a full-time mayor.

Charlotte's city manager system goes back to 1929, when reformers sought what they saw as an antidote to the corruption of cities run by full-time mayors.

Local officials have periodically talked about changing the system. In 1989, both Mayor Sue Myrick and her Democratic opponent called for a switch to a full-time mayor. It came up again in 2000 when officials were talking about merging the city with Mecklenburg County government. Neither idea gained traction.

"It just doesn't fit the culture of North Carolina," says Bill McCoy, retired director of UNC Charlotte's Urban Institute.

Kerry Sides with Labor Unions

Jim Rogers Volunteers the Facts

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - September 27, 2007

The Employee Advocate has known that Jim Rogers is not a run-of-the-mill CEO from the beginning. He just proved again that he does not fit into the typical corporate executive mold. He did something unheard of for a top executive: Jim Rogers admitted the truth, when he did not even have to!

The typical executive is all about spinning the facts, clouding the issues, and denying all. Yesterday, in a portal post, Jim Rogers freely volunteered that Duke Energy did not even rate in Working Mother magazine's 100 Best Companies. Far from losing face by his admission, he gained even more stature. When one puts out the truth, hecklers are disarmed.

Would anyone have heckled Duke Energy for not making the list?

Absolutely, the Employee Advocate would have.

Why would the Employee Advocate heckle Duke Energy for not making the 100 Best Companies list?

As with most of Duke Energy's problems, it all started with the cash balance pension conversion. When employees started filing age discrimination charges with the EEOC, Duke Energy executives and spokespeople came up with the lamest excuse imaginable. Their answer was that Duke had been ranked 10th among 40 of the top 500 companies that responded to benefits surveys by Money magazine!

The employee who lost half of his pension could not care less where Money magazine ranks Duke Energy. The employees with less pension benefits ranked Duke Energy in the toilet!

Duke Energy seemed to think that being ranked in a silly magazine list would make up for any blatant transgressions against the employees! And, getting ranked in the list was not a great accomplishment anyway. It was impossible for Duke Energy not to be ranked. ALL companies who responded to the surveys were automatically listed. Duke Energy took a weak accomplishment and tried to use it as cover for its greatest single assault on employee benefits ever. Incredible!

After all the boasting about being on the magazine's list, the Employee Advocate felt that it was important for all to know each time Duke Energy does not get on a "good company" list.

Duke Not in 100 Best Corporate Citizens

By immediately admitting Duke's failure to get on the 100 Best Companies list, Jim Rogers insulated Duke Energy from criticism and earned praise for himself.

He took the opportunity highlight what he thought are some of the company's strong employee benefits. This indicates that Jim Rogers just might be aware that all the past benefits reductions at Duke Energy are a problem with employees. The mother of all benefits problems is the cash balance pension plan.

Rebuttal To Mike Tuckmans' Rebuttal

Duke Energy's Political Mind Control

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - September 12, 2007

Duke Energy has never been known to let bad ideas die. Failures are recycled endlessly, and always are billed as being new programs. For decades, Duke has tried to organize "grassroots" political efforts. The term "grassroots" is a misnomer, to put it mildly. It is always a case of senior management trying to mislead Congress into believing that there is a strong grassroots demand for what the executives want.

Here's the Wikipedia definition of grassroots:

"A grassroots political movement is one driven by the constituents of a community. The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it is natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures."

See the contradiction? When senior management directs its employees to take political action, the term "grassroots" is defied. There is no spontaneity involved. All activity is coldly calculated and directed by the most traditional power structure of all - Duke Energy. The difference between the views of employees and the views of management is not highlighted. It is merely business as usual - management commanding employees to do its bidding.

Oftentimes, what management wants is not in the best interest of employees. Can you imagine employees happily trotting off to lobby for more pension reductions?

Retroactively Legalizing Cash Balance Plans

Attempted political mind control is back again at Duke Energy. It's touted as a new program - Voices In Politics (VIP). Nothing has changed. It's still a place where Duke Energy attempts to program employees to take political action on behalf of the executives.

"Team Nuclear" Rebuttal

Duke Energy's $1.1 Million Lobbying Bill

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - August 30, 2007

Duke Energy's $100,000 payment to the Alpine Group for lobbying was only the tip of the iceberg, according to the Senate's public records office and the Associated Press.

Duke Energy paid a $1.1 million lobbying bill in only the first half of 2007.

What is a mere $1.1 million to a company that has taken hundreds of millions of dollars from the employees' pension fund?

Duke Energy has also supported legislation that would retroactively legalize taking the employees' pension money.

Retroactively Legalizing Cash Balance Plans

Duke Energy's $100,000 Lobbyist Bill

Duke Energy's $100,000 Lobbyist Bill

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - August 22, 2007

In the first half of 2007, Duke Energy paid the Alpine Group Inc. $100,000 to lobby the federal government, according to the Senate's public records office and the Associated Press. The laws are always so much more accommodating when one gets to help write them.

Duke Energy cannot hide the money it spreads around to buy influence as easily as it once could. A 1995 federal law requires lobbyists to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches.

Sometimes Duke cuts out the middleman, and the money goes straight to the politician.

Commissioner Paid by Duke Energy is Sentenced

A Chip Off the Old Blockhead?

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - August 21, 2007

Do you recall N. C. Sen. David Hoyle’s quest to reduce workers compensation benefits? Hoyle dodged the citizens more than once by abruptly canceling hearings and pulling his compensation bill for redraft. Duke Power and Kelly-Springfield were promoting the reduction of workers compensation benefits.

Duke's 'Naked Greed'

It turns out that Legal Specialist Joan Troy has accused Commissioner Dave Hoyle Jr., son of Sen. Hoyle, of conflict of interest by backing Duke Energy's ban on boats within 100 feet of its dams.

Dave Hoyle Jr. owned hydro plants and sold the power to Duke Energy.

When Joan Troy recommended not creating 100-foot exclusionary zones around Duke Energy dams, a chain of events was triggered. Commission members said they'd lost confidence in the leadership of Executive Director Richard Hamilton, with 37-years of agency service. He immediately resigned. Later, his aide, Joan Troy, found that her job had been eliminated!

Richard Hamilton said "Everything was going well between the commission and I until the meeting of July 11. It seemed like immediately after there was a movement to silence her, even to the point of eliminating her job."

Joan Troy received a letter that her position had been eliminated. Later she received another letter that her position had not been eliminated. But the commission is studying whether her position is necessary.

On top of all this turmoil, there are a lot of mad fishermen.

NC Sen. David Hoyle Can't Abide Ethics Reform

Sources: The Charlotte Observer and McClatchy Newspapers.

The Electric Deregulation Nightmare

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - August 17, 2007

Energy CEO's and their lackey politicians sold electric deregulation as a dream come true. The spiel was that deregulation would make power companies fight each other to see who could sell the cheapest electricity.

The reality turned out to be a nightmare for ratepayers. Power companies fought to see who could gouge customers the most. Rather than fighting, some companies colluded to sell electricity at the highest possible price. The artificially low prices to sucker in the public only made matter worse when the real bill came due.

When the real bill came due, Deborah Jackson said "I'm just working to pay a light bill," according to USA Today. The Illinois rate freezes expired in January. The Jackson’s electric heat discounts also ended in January. Their bill was $172 in January, $600.82 in February, and a whopping $1,024.31 in March!

The negative effects of deregulation will not soon go away. Someone must pay for the obscene profits of a few CEO's. Someone must pay for the huge donations to politicians. Someone must pay for years of fake low prices for electricity. The patsy will always be the ratepayer. The deregulated ratepayers saved a few pennies for a few years. Now they will pay enormous electricity prices for years to come.

Some states are trying to put the deregulation genie back into the bottle. They are reinstating the regulation of power companies. Virginia went back to regulated power companies in July.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said "Some feel you should let the market take over, but based on what I've seen happen in other states, it's just not something I'm willing to tolerate."

Duke Energy drank the deregulation and energy trading Kool Aid. There was a period of time that Duke fell for every scam going, from deregulation to cash balance pensions. Deregulation robs ratepayers of their money. Cash balance plans rob employees of their pensions.

The Empty Promise of Deregulation

Cheney's Energy Secrets Revealed

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - July 24, 2007

V. P. Dick Cheney fought for six years to keep the list of advisors to his energy task force a secret from Congress and the public. He fought to the Supreme Court to keep his secrets. But alas, an unnamed former White House official gave The Washington Post a partial list of attendees.

Of course there were oil executives present at the 2001 meetings. Enron’s Ken Lay was there. And wherever Enron was, you could always find Duke Energy on its coattails. Beverly Marshad was listed as representing Duke Energy on March 5, at 9 am.

The task force had a staff led by Executive Director Andrew D. Lundquist. Now, Lundquist is a lobbyist, and he has represented Duke Energy.

Along with the list of task force advisors, more information has been revealed that Cheney did not want uncovered. An investigation into Cheney's energy task force revealed much more than hiding the names of the advisors – much more! Truthout.org has published an investigative report that states that Cheney suppressed market manipulation evidence during the 2001 California energy crisis.

Jason Leopold wrote: "This story is based on a two-month investigation into Cheney's energy task force; how the vice president pressured cabinet officials to conceal clear-cut evidence of market manipulation during California's energy crisis, and how that subsequently led Cheney to exert executive privilege when lawmakers called on him to turn over documents related to his meetings with energy industry officials who helped draft the National Energy Policy and also gamed California's power market. Truthout spoke with more than a dozen former officials from the Energy Department and FERC as well as current and former energy industry executives all of whom were involved in personal discussions with Cheney relating to the National Energy Policy."

Cheney Suppressed Evidence in Energy Crisis

Dick Cheney Allows No Free Speech

Duke Energy Cash Balance Lawsuit Action

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - July 17, 2007

On July 12, a motion for partial summary judgment was filed on behalf of employees and retirees in the Duke Energy cash balance plan lawsuit.

Click the link below to view the latest:

Duke Energy Pension Lawsuit Info

Answer to Duke's Motion to Dismiss the Lawsuit

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - July 12, 2007

Plaintiffs, consisting of Duke Energy employees and retirees, filed a memorandum July 9 opposing Duke's motion to dismiss the cash balance plan lawsuit.

2007 Employee Opinion Survey

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - June 26, 2007

There is a new spin on the 2007 Employee Opinion Survey: there is a long survey and a short one. It's really probably the same survey, only in the long one, the same questions are repeated in 25 different ways!

  • Do you like green eggs and ham?

  • Do you not like green eggs and ham?

  • Do you like other things better than green eggs and ham?

  • Do you not like other things better than green eggs and ham?

  • Would you walk a mile for green eggs and ham?

  • Would you walk a mile to get away from green eggs and ham?

  • Do green eggs and ham make you feel happy?

  • Do green eggs and ham make you want to puke?

If you cannot bring yourself to take the long survey, at least take the short version. The questions meander in circles, but there is space to write in your own comments.

Below are questions already sent in:


Great strides have been made in correcting the past mistakes, caused by runaway greed. The one area that has been totally ignored is employee benefits. The questionable pension maneuver was the very act that started the whole sorry slide to near oblivion. Yet it is the one mistake that Duke is loath to set right.

Please enter any thoughts you have for implementing continuous improvement:

Continuous improvement should include improvement for everyone, not merely the executives. Executive compensation continues to flourish at the expense of employees’ benefits.

Renewable Energy

Congratulations to Jim Rogers for making a first meaningful step in the direction of renewable energy.

2006 Employee Opinion Survey

Insurance Money for Nuclear Employees

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - June 19, 2007

Duke Energy recently informed certain nuclear employees that they could apply for a $50,000 Nuclear Generation Health Reimbursement Account (HRA). To qualify they must be age fifty-five and have ten years of service by the end of 2007.

Initially, some employees were excited about the -insurance gift.- But as they learned more details, it looked less like a gift and more like a trap.

  • Qualifying employees can apply, but may be refused acceptance in the HRA.

  • The employees will never get control of the money. It remains with Duke Energy.

  • The money will never earn any interest (for the employees).

  • Duke Energy will remain free to amend, modify or terminate the program at any time for any reason.

  • Unused money will be forfeited upon death.

  • Years of service are meaningless. Ten years are worth as much as forty years.

  • Workers must agree to terminate employment and sign a Waiver and Release Form.

The HRA is the bait. The Waiver is the hook. When the cash balance plan lawsuit was filed in 2006, the Waiver was promptly updated to specifically exclude signing employees from participating in any settlement for pension loses. But waivers are not always legal.

Waivers Can be Beaten

What if Duke's Waiver is not legal? Not to take any chances, Duke put in a clause that if its Waiver is not binding, employees will only get the difference between the cash balance plan settlement and benefits derived from signing the Waiver!

In deciding to take any severance package, remember, it cannot be guaranteed by anyone that there will ever be any cash balance plan settlement. The federal court will decide. We can guarantee a good fight.

If you decide to take the HRA, do your own due diligence. Know that to get the bait, you are always required to swallow the hook.


This Waiver and Release of Claims pursuant to the terms of the Duke Energy Corporation Nuclear Health Reimbursement Account Opportunity Plan ("Agreement"), delivered on ___________, 200___, is entered into by and between Duke Energy Corporation and its subsidiaries and affiliates (Duke and its subsidiaries and affiliates collectively referred to as the "Company"), and the undersigned employee ("Employee") with the mutual exchange of promises as consideration.

WHEREAS, Employee is eligible to voluntarily separate from employment under the terms of Duke Energy Corporation Nuclear Health Reimbursement Account Opportunity Plan (the "Plan") and to receive the benefit described below; and

WHEREAS, the Company has designated Employee as eligible to participate in the Plan and has approved Employee's request for voluntary separation under the terms and conditions explained in this Agreement.

THEREFORE, the Company extends the following Agreement to Employee:

  1. In exchange for Employee separating from employment effective _____________ (the "Separation Date") and entering into this Agreement, the Company agrees to furnish the following benefits to Employee:

    a. Health Reimbursement Account. Pursuant to the Plan, the Company will credit Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) to a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) on behalf of Employee, which can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses following Employee's Separation Date.

    b. Single Sum Vacation Pay. Pursuant to its vacation policy, the Company agrees to pay to Employee all accrued, unused vacation existing as of Employee's Separation Date in a single sum.

  2. Basis For Entitlement. Employee acknowledges that Employee would not be entitled to the benefit described in Paragraph 1(a) absent Employee's separation from employment under the Plan and execution of this Agreement.

  3. Adequate Consideration. Employee agrees that this Agreement provides good, valuable and sufficient consideration for Employee's obligations under this Agreement.

  4. Waiver. Employee waives and releases any and all rights or claims that he or she currently has, or may have, as of the date of the execution of this Agreement, based on or arising out of the employment relationship or the termination of the employment relationship, against the Company, its benefit, employee welfare, or other plans (including any and all fiduciaries thereof), or any of the Company's respective current or former officers, directors, agents, employees, attorneys, insurers, plan administrators, predecessors, successors or assigns. The rights and claims so waived and released shall include, but not be limited to:

    a. Those arising under any federal, state or local statute, ordinance, common law (including, but not limited to, claims of breach of promise, breach of contract, promissory estoppel, intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, defamation, tortious interference with a business relationship or contract and wrongful discharge), or claims in equity or public policy; and

    b. Those arising under any law relating to sex, age, race, religion, handicap or disability, national origin, pregnancy, discrimination, retaliation, or whistleblower (including, but not limited to, any rights or claims arising under Section 211 of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, and other similar state statutes as such statutes may be amended from time to time); and

    c. Those arising under the civil rights laws of any state or municipality; and

    d. Any claim for compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys' fees, expenses and litigation costs; and

    e. Those arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, including but not limited to claims relating to Case No. 8:06-CV-00373-HFF pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of South Carolina and any lawsuit alleging similar claims (the "Cash Balance Litigation"). The Cash Balance Plan Litigation seeks additional benefits under the Duke Energy Retirement Cash Balance Plan (and possibly the Company's Retirement Cash Balance Plan), and other relief. Please see the attached Notice for additional details, including the names and addresses of counsel for the plaintiffs. The Company and the Cash Balance Plan intend to defend themselves vigorously in the Cash Balance Plan Litigation and take the position that no damages should result from the litigation. Employee recognizes and acknowledge that this Agreement completely releases Employee's rights in the Cash Balance Plan Litigation. In the event that a court in the Cash Balance Plan Litigation should rule that, despite this Agreement, Employee is entitled to some recovery of benefits under the terms of the Cash Balance Plan, Employee agrees that he or she will receive only the difference between the court's ruling and the Plan benefit described above in Paragraph 1, if any.

  5. Claims Not Waived. Notwithstanding the provisions on Paragraph 4 above, this Agreement does not waive and release workers' compensation claims filed prior to the date of execution of this Agreement, claims that may arise after the date of execution of this Agreement, or claims against the Company arising out of possible exposure to asbestos during Employee’s employment with the Company to asbestos at a facility or facilities owned by the Company.

  6. Vested Benefit Plans. Employee further does not waive and release any rights and claims to any benefits under the terms of any employee retirement benefit plan in which Employee is a participant and in which Employee has vested. Any such distributions from benefit plans shall be made in accordance with the terms of the respective plan.

  7. Future Employment. Employee waives any right to assert any claim or demand for reemployment with the Company. Any reemployment shall be in accordance with Company policies and procedures.

  8. Acknowledgement of Reporting and Compliance. Employee acknowledges and agrees that it is the policy of the Company to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Employee affirms that he or she has reported all compliance issues and violations of federal, state and local law or regulation or Company policy of which he or she had knowledge during the term of his or her employment, if any. Employee represents and acknowledges that he or she has no further or additional knowledge or information regarding compliance issues or possible violations of federal, state or local law or regulations or Company policy other than what Employee may have previously raised, if any, including but not limited to any and all outstanding nuclear safety concerns Employee has involving any nuclear power plant owned or operated by the Company. Nothing in this Agreement prohibits Employee from reporting any suspected instance of illegal activity of any nature, any nuclear safety concern, any workplace safety concern, or any public safety concern to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the United States Department of Labor, or any other federal or state governmental agency. This Agreement further does not prohibit Employee from participating in any way in any state or federal administrative, judicial, or legislative proceeding or investigation.

  9. Promise not to Sue. Employee agrees not to institute a lawsuit against the Company asserting any of the claims that are released in Paragraph 4 of this Agreement. Employee acknowledges that signing this Agreement means that Employee has waived any right to bring a lawsuit or make any legal claims (including any claim of age discrimination) against the Company based on or arising out of the employment relationship or the termination of the employment relationship up to the date this Agreement is signed.

  10. Untrue or Defamatory Statements Prohibited. The Company and Employee shall not make untrue or defamatory statements regarding each other.

  11. Return of Company Property. Employee agrees to return to the Company all keys, identification badges, electronic passes, credit cards, computers, computer programs, and any other Company property in a timely manner.

  12. Confidential Information. Employee shall not, at any time, directly or indirectly, use any trade secrets or confidential information of the Company for Employee's benefit or the benefit of any other person or, directly or indirectly, disclose any such trade secrets or confidential information of the Company to any other person.

  13. Cooperation With Litigation. Upon the Company's request, Employee agrees to render reasonable assistance to the Company in connection with any litigation or investigation relating to the Company's business. Employee agrees to promptly notify the Chief Legal Officer of the Company of any requests for information or testimony that Employee receives in connection with any litigation or investigation relating to the Company's business.

  14. Governing Law. This Agreement shall be interpreted, enforced and governed under the laws of the State of North Carolina.

  15. No Admission of Liability. This Agreement shall not in any way be construed as evidence or as an admission of any liability or wrongdoing by the Company.

  16. Binding Effect of Agreement. This Agreement will be binding upon and shall operate for the benefit of the heirs, executors, administrators, assigns, and successors in interest of Employee and the Company.

  17. Severability. If any portion of this Agreement should be unenforceable for any reason, the parties agree that the remaining portions will continue in effect.

  18. Consultation with Attorney Advised. Employee is advised to consult with an attorney prior to executing this Agreement. Employee acknowledges being given that advice. Employee represents that Employee has read and fully understands all of the provisions of this Agreement. Employee represents that Employee is voluntarily signing this Agreement.

  19. Receipt of Summary Plan Description. Employee acknowledges receipt and possession of a copy of the summary plan description of the Duke Energy Corporation Nuclear Health Reimbursement Account Opportunity Plan.

  20. Receipt of Attachment and Notification Letter. The job classifications and the ages of all individuals in Employee's decisional unit who are eligible and ineligible to participate are shown on the Attachment. Employee acknowledges receipt and possession of the Attachment. The eligibility factors for Employee's decisional unit are set forth in Employee's notification letter. Employee acknowledges receipt and possession of the notification letter.

  21. Time Frame for Acceptance. Employee acknowledges that he or she has been given a period of forty-five (45) days from his or her Separation Date within which to consider and sign this Agreement.

    a. To enter into this Agreement, Employee must execute it by signing, dating and returning it to Cathy Edwards, Mail Box Code ST05E, P.O. Box 1007, Charlotte, North Carolina 282-1007.

    b. Employee acknowledges that if Employee has signed this Agreement it is because Employee freely chose to do so.

    c. Employee may revoke this Agreement during the seven (7) calendar days after he or she signs it. To be effective, a revocation must be communicated in writing to Cathy Edwards, Mail Box Code ST05E, P.O. Box 1007, Charlotte, North Carolina 282-1007, and delivered no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the final day of the seven (7) day period.

  22. Complete Agreement. The parties acknowledge and agree that this Agreement sets forth the complete understanding and agreement between them relating in any way to the termination of Employee’s employment. No agreements or understandings between them shall be enforceable against the other unless written in this Agreement.

  23. Effective Date. This Agreement shall become effective and enforceable upon the expiration of the revocation period discussed in Paragraph 21.


Employee                                                          Date


By: _________________________________________________
Christopher C. Rolfe                                          Date
Group Executive and
Chief Administrative Officer


Before signing the Waiver and Release in order to receive the Plan benefit, you should be aware that a proposed class action is pending in federal district court in South Carolina. It alleges violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") arising out of the conversion of the Duke Power Company Employees' Retirement Plan into the Duke Power Company Retirement Cash Balance Plan and the administration of the Duke Energy Cash Balance Retirement Plan. The plaintiffs seek to represent a proposed class defined as "all present and/or former employees of Duke Energy who participated in the Duke Energy Retirement Cash Balance Plan on or after January 1, 1997." The case is entitled George et al. v. Duke Energy Cash Balance Retirement Plan and Duke Energy Corporation, Case No. 806-cv-00373-HFF ("George"). Please note that if you sign and do not revoke the Waiver and Release within the specified time, the Company will take the position as specified in paragraph 4 of the Waiver and Release that you have waived your potential claims and damages in that lawsuit. THE COMPANY STRONGLY ADVISES YOU TO CONSULT LEGAL COUNSEL BEFORE SIGNING THE WAIVER AND RELEASE. The lawyers who filed the class action are as follows:

James R. Gilreath
William M. Hogan
110 Lavinia Avenue
P. O. Box 2147
Greenville, SC 29602
(864) 242-4727

Charles W. Whetstone, Jr.
Cheryl F. Perkins
1303 Blanding Street (29201)
P. O. Box 8086
Columbia, SC 20202
(893) 799-9400

Mona Lisa Wallace
525 North Main Street
Salisbury, North Carolina 28144
(704) 633-5244

Carl F. Muller
Andrew B. Cogburn
Wallace Lightsey
44 East Camperdown Way
Greenville, SC 29601
(864) 242-8200

A. Hoyt Rowell, III
Daniel O. Myers
T. Christopher Tuck
Robert S. Wood
P.O. Box 1007
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465
(843) 727-6500

Duke Nuclear HRA Plan
Effective 6-1-07

Cancer Linked to Power Lines

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - April 23, 2007

This article was published by www.ThisIsLondon.co.uk on April 20, 2007

Power Lines Link to Cancer in New Alert

By Nicholas Cecil

A secret report has raised fresh fears of a link between power lines and cancer.

The confidential study, obtained by the Evening Standard, urges ministers to consider banning the building of homes and schools close to overhead high-voltage power cables because of possible health risks.

It says a ban is the best way to reduce significantly exposure to electromagnetic fields from the electricity grid system.

The report was drawn up by scientists, electricity company bosses, the National Grid, government officials and campaigners over two years after the Health Protection Agency accepted there was a weak statistical "association" between prolonged exposure to power fields and childhood leukaemia.

But the 40 members of the panel have clashed over the final details and conclusions.

It stops short of specifically recommending a ban on new homes and schools within 60 metres of power lines, or vice versa, which could wipe a total of £2 billion off property prices across Britain and limit land for housing developments.

But the report concludes that the Government should consider such a move, stating: "We urge government to make a clear decision on whether to implement this option or not."

The report, to be signed off by panel members next week, has sparked conflict at a series of hearings, according to a Whitehall source.

Two members of the panel, regulator Ofgem and Scottish & Southern Energy, are understood to have quit.

Some members of the panel took the view - adopted by the Government's health advisers and the World Health Organisat ion - that childhood leukaemia is the only adverse health effect where evidence is strong enough for precautionary measures to be considered.

According to this view, if there is a link, the building ban would cut just one case of childhood leukaemia every year or two and the costs would outweigh the benefits by a factor of at least 20.

The second group generally backed views highlighted by the California Department of Health Services which suggested electromagnetic fields are "possibly carcinogenic" in terms of childhood leukaemia and placed four other health effects in this risk category. They were adult leukaemia, adult brain tumours, miscarriages and a form of motor neurone disease, although some scientists believe there are links with more diseases.

"The advice to government from following this 'California' view would therefore be to tend to favour implementing the ' corridors for new build' option," SAGE added, stressing that in this scenario the costs and benefits would be at least comparable.

The panel is set to recommend that the Health Protection Agency should issue more information about how to reduce the impact of exposure to electromagnetic fields. It will also call for a change to the working of overhead lines to reduce the radius of intense electromagnetic fields.

New cancer link to power lines

Another Duke Energy Safety Initiative

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - February 21, 2007

The year is young, and a brand new safety initiative has already begun at Duke Energy. That could be good news, IF finding the cause of the numerous accidents and deaths were really the goal. Usually, more effort is spent in not finding out what management does not want to hear. As long as employees can be pacified with creeds, posters, banners, and impossible predictions, why bother to ever do anything meaningful?

This time the employee safety survey route was taken. That would have been a good start. But employees have reported that they were not just asked what the problems were. They were asked nine questions, carefully crafted to elicit the desired response. Some things never change! No wonder some employees are reluctant to take any Duke Energy survey.

But some resourceful employees got in their own comments anyway. One employee said that he informed the committee that they were asking the wrong questions and therefore could never get the right answers.

The true answers would never come, but the politically correct answers would come. That's how the game is always played. Management starts with the answers that it wants to "find." Then, by hook or crook, it finds those answers!

One employee really let the cat out of the bag. He told the committee that employees are having so many accidents because they are disgruntled and preoccupied over their cash balance plan retirement losses! By the committee’s reaction, this was not one of the answers that it was out to find. But the comment was written down. At least, it was pretended to be written down.

Because, what one does not want to find, will never be found.

Duke Energy Bucket Truck Fall

Duke Works Both Sides of Climate Issue

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - February 2, 2007

This article was written by Tommy Tomlinson, and published in The Charlotte Observer on Jan. 31, 2007.

Don't know about you, but nothing makes me hop out of bed on a winter day like the prospect of a big honking report on global warming.

Wait! Come back!

A lot of y'all have more pressing issues this morning, such as whether the milk in the fridge is still good and whether that shirt goes with those pants. (No and no.)

But hang in there. Global warming is one of those BBI issues -- Boring But Important.

And our own Duke Energy is a big player in the debate.

Problem is, Duke is trying to suit up for both teams.

Everybody has been trying to get out ahead of Friday's report from a United Nations-related group called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report is expected to be more detailed than earlier estimates on global warming -- and more scary.

Duke Energy did its part by joining up with other businesses and environmental groups to lobby for new environmental laws.

Jim Rogers, Duke's CEO, went to Washington last week to lobby for cutting the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Most scientists say excess carbon dioxide is the major cause of global warming.

But at the same time Duke is getting all enviro-friendly, it's also planning a new coal-fired power plant in Cleveland County, just west of Charlotte.

And coal plants produce ton after ton of -- guess what? -- carbon dioxide.

As John Kerry might say, Duke was for carbon dioxide before it was against it.

We should stop right here to say that this is all our fault -- me with my laptop humming and you with every light in the house turned on.

The only thing we crave more than fast food and cheap gas is more power, and even though we've greened America a little bit, we keep dreaming up inventions that require even more juice.

So, yes, Duke ought to be smart enough to meet our energy needs without flinging all that pollution into the air.

But we consumers ought to not be so needy.

Getting this right requires a lot from all sides -- most of all, accurate information.

Unfortunately, here's where the White House comes in.

Activists and scientists speaking at a congressional hearing Tuesday said that the White House pressured government scientists to downplay global warming.

That's the same White House that has admitted global warming exists over the years -- most recently in President Bush's State of the Union address.

Nobody knows how bad global warming is going to be, and how soon it'll be bad.

Poke around Duke Energy's Web site and you can find an article by Jim Rogers on global warming. At the end he talks about looking at the issue with "cathedral thinking."

"By that, I'm referring to the great cathedrals of Europe that took upward of 500 years to complete," he says. That's an elegant thought.

But I'm guessing that when that big climate report comes out Friday, it'll be pushing for something a little quicker than cathedral time.

Jim Rogers on Nuclear Lobbying Board

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - January 13, 2007

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers is now on the board and executive committee of the Nuclear Energy Institute, according to The Charlotte Observer. The Institute lobbies to promote nuclear energy and new plant construction.

Jim Rogers is replacing Ruth Shaw, who is retiring at the end of April.

Ruth Shaw Will Not Leave Broke

Duke Energy Bucket Truck Fall

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - January 10, 2007

Tuesday morning, a Duke Energy employee fell 35 feet, according to The Star Press. 27-year-old Jack Tompkins, of New Castle, Indiana, was working on a utility pole when he fell from the truck's bucket.

New Castle Emergency Management Services Chief Ron Burns said "He was working (on the pole) and fell out of that. He fell 30-35 feet. He's probably got a fractured pelvis ... multiple fractures. One of the cable TV guys found him...He landed on the ground. Had he been 12 inches one way he would have hit his truck. He's a very lucky young man. He's not out of the dark yet. He's lucky to be alive this long."

The injured employee was conscious and talking at the scene. He was taken to one hospital, and then flown to another hospital in Indianapolis.

A Duke Energy spokesperson was not sure how many, if any, other Duke employees have been injured in such accidents.

Duke Energy contractors have recently suffered fatalities, due to bucket truck accidents. Click the link below:

OSHA Fine for Bucket Truck Death

Duke Energy Employees Win Round One!

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - January 9, 2007

Plaintiffs in the pension lawsuit against Duke Energy have been informed by their attorneys that the defendant's motion for a change of venue has been denied. Duke Energy filed a motion for the case to be transferred from South Carolina to the Western District of North Carolina.

Even if one knew zero about the case, the fact that Duke Energy wanted a change of venue would have been reason enough for employees and retirees to oppose it.

Next to be decided will be the motion for class certification.

What a great way to start the new year!

Duke Energy Cash Balance Lawsuit

Welcome to 2007

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - January 8, 2007

The biggest and best news for employees in 2006 was the filing of the cash balance plan lawsuit against Duke Energy. Seeds planted years ago began to grow and bear fruit.

Duke Energy Cash Balance Lawsuit

The EEOC dismissed employee cash balance age discrimination charges against Duke Energy after the lawsuit was filed. The EEOC provided our ticket into federal court. Once the lawsuit was filed, it was appropriate to dismiss the charges.

EEOC Pension Assistance Appreciated

Duke Energy has been stonewalling employees' complaints about the cash balance plan conversion for a decade now. As CEO of Cinergy, Jim Rogers wisely avoided an employee relations disaster by not forcing employees into the cash balance conversion. Employees were allowed to keep the worthwhile pension plan that was promised to them when they were hired. Only new Cinergy employees were automatically enrolled in the cash balance plan. It would have been unethical and legally questionable for him to have baited employees with one pension plan and then have switched them to a less valuable plan.

But the plot thickens now that Jim Rogers is the chairman and CEO of Duke Energy. When two groups merge, Duke Energy likes to bring the one with the better benefits down to the level of the one with less benefits. The bottom line is that Duke Energy wants all former Cinergy employees to forfeit pension benefits by being forced into its cheap cash balance plan.

The hitch is that many former Cinergy employees are unionized, and Duke Energy cannot alter their benefits for a certain period of time. Some unionized former Cinergy employees have their benefits guaranteed for a period of five years.

Cinergy Employees Will Keep Benefits

Duke’s solution to the inconvenience of a union contract was to offer these workers an "opportunity" to volunteer for its cash balance plan. What possible good is a union contract if employees are gullible enough to give away everything they have bargained for? Any employee who volunteers for a cash balance pension should be immediately sent for a drug test!

What Really Happened to Your Pension

Duke Energy has left Jim Rogers holding the pension bag. To pacify the directors, he will have to doublecross the employees that came from Cinergy with him! Duke made a dumb, disastrous pension conversion 10 years ago and is still reaping negative repercussions from it. Former Cinergy employees should not be forced into a flaky cash balance plan any more than Duke Energy employees should have been forced into it ten years ago. Former Cinergy employees did not ask to be sucked up by Duke Energy, and they did not ask for its cash balance plan. Jim Rogers received 23 million dollars for coming to Duke Energy. The former Cinergy employees will only receive a cash balance plan.

23 Million Reasons to Promote a Merger

Unionized Cinergy employees were not overjoyed at the prospect of being gobbled up by antiunion Duke Energy. An IBEW strike was planed because of Duke's threats to outsource jobs. The contract was ratified shortly after the merger.

IBEW, Duke Energy Contract Ratified

One of the latest allegations of improprieties against Duke Energy came riding in with the Cinergy merger.

Employee Sues Duke Energy, Alleging Kickbacks

The latest fine for providing bogus market data to manipulate energy prices also involves the company formerly known as Cinergy.

Ex-Energy Traders Settle with CFTC

Duke Energy also picked up some environmental lawsuits with the Cinergy merger.

Duke Energy Buys Lawsuits

Duke Energy once planned to use energy deregulation as a means to rule the world. When the deregulation bubble popped, Duke Energy struggled to merely survive. The disaster of deregulation is still making headlines.

Duke Energy and Electric Deregulation

Duke Energy is still being investigated for possible energy market manipulation during the days of Enron envy.

Duke Energy Ordered to Surrender Trading Tapes

The big selling point of cash balance plans was their supposed portability. But Duke Energy's plan did not even have that. When people left Duke Energy before age 55, Duke kept all their cash balance plan money. These former employees could not touch their pension money until they turned 55. Only now has Duke Energy finally allowed employees to take their meager cash balance with them when they leave the company.

Duke Energy Tinkers with Cash Balance Plan

Former Duke Energy COO Fred Fowler's vow to end all on the job injuries, sickness, and deaths has not panned out. Only the most hopelessly brainwashed would have believed him anyway. The string of Contractor fatalities continued when Timothy Blevins died November 2, 2006 at Belews Creek Steam Station.

Four Duke Energy Contractors Injured

Some energy CEO's were able to milk millions of dollars out of deregulation; they took the money and ran. Former Westar chairman and CEO Davis Wittig managed to rack up 18 - 18 years in the pen that is!

Crooked Energy CEO Gets 18 Years

Chairman Paul Anderson has left Duke Energy, and is now the chairman of Spectra. He is known as a turnaround artist, and he quickly turned around floundering Duke Energy. New Duke Energy Chairman and CEO Jim Rogers has the potential to accomplish even more, because he is standing on Paul Anderson's shoulders.

Many of Duke Energy's problems were solved over the past three years. The one problem that was not solved was the cash balance plan pension disaster.

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2006

Obscene Executive Pay Under Fire

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - January 6, 2007

The New York Times reported that activist shareholders are making changes in the boardrooms of America and gaining new respect. On Wednesday, Home Depot announced the resignation of Chairman and CEO Robert L. Nardelli. He was forced out because he refused to accept any reduction in his stock package. His last yearly contract showered him with $38.1 million. All he was willing to give up was the guarantee of a minimum of a $3 million bonus each year. That was not enough and he had to go.

Mr. Nardelli was in character until the end. He negotiated a $210 million retirement package on his way out! Here is a man who clearly needed no retirement package, but yet he received $210 million. At the same time, employees nationwide are losing much of their meger pensions through cash balance conversions, pension freezes, and shifts to 401(k) plans.

Attorney and shareholder Ralph V. Whitworth led the campaign to oust the CEO. Mr. Whitworth said "There's a lot more respect for investors like me now. I still have to make threats, but now everyone wants to deal with us fast. They realize we've got real power and we're here to stay...The head of General Mills once called me a socialist. I told him I was the ultimate capitalist. Business people would return my calls for the first time, and it was giving me an entree into a world I otherwise couldn't access...I was a firebrand; now I've mellowed a lot. But I'm still young. I look forward to helping a lot more companies become more efficient, whether they like it or not."

Mr. Nardelli enraged shareholders by running the annual meeting without any of the directors present. He limited shareholders to only a single one-minute question. He even refused to address some questions!

There seems to be a concerted effort to limit shareholder access to the boardrooms of America. Former Duke Energy Chairman Paul Anderson cut the question time down from 5 minutes to 3 minutes at the last meeting. He did this even though there was only a single comment at the previous meeting!

Duke Energy 2006 Meeting of Shareholders

Attorney Howard Steinberg said "Activist shareholders have a power and audience beyond what they've ever enjoyed. They're developing a credible track record, and as a result, more and more managers are forced to engage with them. Activists' time has come."

Corporate Library Editor Nell Minow said "For years these guys were seen as politically motivated oddballs or annoying attention seekers. Now some of those same people control hundreds of millions of dollars and have been around longer than many C.E.O's."

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is concerned about executive pay at Wachovia, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Richard Ferlauto, the union's director of pension and benefits policy, said "We are taking a very close look at the executive compensation plan. It's outsized."

Wachovia Chairman and CEO Ken Thompson took home $12.5 million in total compensation in 2005 and $13.3 million in 2004.

Ruth Shaw, Duke Energy group executive for public policy and president of Duke Nuclear, is the Wachovia Management Resources & Compensation chair, according to www.wachovia.com. She was also the chair of the compensation committee when Wachovia Vice Chairman Wallace Malone Jr. retired with $134 million in severance and other benefits.

Ruth Shaw Scratches Back of Wachovia Executive

The union pressed for annual director elections last year. Wachovia will ask shareholders to approve the change in elections this year.

A Duke Energy shareholder proposal to end staggered elections for directors passed in 2004, with a whopping 63 percent of the vote. Shareholders voted to amend the articles of incorporation in 2005 and the change was incorporated in 2006.

Duke Energy 2004 Meeting of Shareholders

The brand new Congress is taking issue with the pay gap between executives and employees, according to Dow Jones MarketWatch. New House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said that he will hold hearings about wages to address the gap between economic growth and wages.

Rep. Frank said that packages like the $210 million severance pay Home Depot CEO Robert L. Nardelli received are contributing to political gridlock. Rep. Frank intends to introduce legislation to give shareholders more rights, such as voting on executive pay packages.

Former Duke Energy Chairman Paul Anderson once alluded to the fact that the CEO pay pendulum has swung too far in one direction.

Employee Sues Duke Energy, Alleging Kickbacks

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - December 9, 2006, 2006

The stream of lawsuits against Duke Energy has not run dry, according to the Associated Press. A lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, accuses Duke Energy of paying millions of dollars in kickbacks to large industrial customers to buy their acceptance of rate increase in a 2004.

John Deeds, a former manager at Duke Energy Ohio, asked superiors about $20 million in payouts to unnamed large customers. He apparently made the "mistake" of asking his question in writing. The lawsuit contends that Mr. Deeds was "abruptly terminated" shortly after he made the inquiry.

At the time of the alleged kickbacks, the company was operating as Cinergy; it became Duke Energy this year. Mr. Deeds, with 16 years of service, was appointed director of regulatory initiatives for Cinergy Retail Sales in 2005. He promptly questioned the possibility of "sham transactions," in e-mail sent to his boss. Mr. Deeds alleges that his boss told him that it was not Cinergy's policy to put those types of concerns in writing and that he should never put them in an e-mail.

Mr. Deeds is seeking lost pay, compensatory damages, up to $40 million in punitive damages, and attorneys fees.

The Total Failure of Sen. Elizabeth Dole

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - November 20, 2006, 2006

As chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Sen. Elizabeth Dole was charged with raising money and keeping the Republicans in control of the Senate. She blew it; the Republicans lost both the Senate and House. Ms Dole claims that she is satisfied with her performance. Heck of a job Liddy!

Ms Dole failed to sell the Republican Party to the voters. She also failed the citizens of North Carolina and America by favoring reduced pensions through cash balance plans. She and Sen. Richard Burr tried to influence fellow senators to vote to retroactively legalize cash balance plans. They tried to hand Duke Energy and other corporations a victory over employees by nullifying pending pension lawsuits.

The Employee Advocate agrees with Ms Dole on one thing. She was quoted by www.tv.com as saying "If our leaders are not worthy, we have the power to elect leaders who are." Well, they weren't and we did.

Speaking of the election, Ms. Dole said "It was a horrendous national environment."

She's got it all wrong, as usual. It was a sweet national environment! She was trying to sell the policies of G. W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, but the public was not buying.

Ms Dole said on a talk show that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld did not need to leave office. Once again, she was wrong. Rumsfeld was sacked immediately after the Republicans' resounding defeat. Now Ms Dole complains because Rumsfeld was not dumped before the election. Even if that had been the case, the Republican Party would still have suffered from the drag of G. W. Bush and Dick Cheney. All three are the same caliber; you can shoot them all out of the same gun!

Some North Carolina citizens complain that Ms. Dole seldom visits the state.

N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Meek said "We just think she should be in North Carolina more often She should be speaking for North Carolinians rather than speaking for the national party."

But Senators Dole and Burr do not represent the citizens of North Carolina or America. They only represent corporations and their lobbying toadies.

NC voters will not be able to throw out Elizabeth Dole until 2008. We will be stuck with Richard Burr until 2010. The Bush/Cheney regime self-destructs in 2008, if not impeached before.

Sources: WRAL.com, The News & Observer, and The Charlotte Observer.

Duke Energy Worships Elizabeth Dole

Ex-Enron Execs Off to the Big House

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - November 19, 2006, 2006

Former Enron executives Michael Kopper and Mark Koenig were sentenced to prison Friday, according to the Associated Press. They both received reduced sentences for their cooperation with prosecutors. Kopper was sentenced to three years and one month in prison. Kopper also coughed up almost $12 million. Koenig was sentenced to 18-months in prison.

Former CFO Andrew Fastow, who also cooperated, has begun serving six years in federal prison.

Richard Causey, former chief accounting officer, had pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 5 1/2 years earlier this week.

Founder Kenneth Lay and Former CEO Jeffery Skilling planned on getting away clean by pleading not guilty. How did that work out? All time jerk Jeffery Skilling will begin his 24-year sentence next month. It could not happen to a more deserving fellow.

Wheeling Dealing Skilling

Ken Lay did manage to get away clean, but not the way he planned. He was found guilty of 10 counts of conspiracy and fraud and was awaiting sentencing, which could have been as much as 45 years. But he died before the sentence was handed down. The judge vacated Lay's conviction on October 17, 2006. With prison overcrowding, there is probably little room to imprison dead men, no matter how much they deserve it. This only goes to show that some guys will do anything to beat the system!

Ken Lay and G. W. Bush were pals before the Enron crash. Lay was known to Bush as "Kenny Boy." Kenny Boy even furnished jets for Bush's 2000 election campaign. After Enron crashed, Bush turned his back on Kenny Boy. Bush was quick to abandon Kenny Boy, but hung on to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for far too long.

Rumsfeld Led Bush to War

Never forget that Enron was once the epitome of everything that Duke Energy aspired to be!

The Rise and Fall of Rick Priory

Ex-Energy Traders Settle with CFTC

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - November 18, 2006, 2006

Customers were promised that energy deregulation would bring them lower bills. What customers often received were confusion and higher energy bills. A few made out like bandits: politicians, energy CEO's, and some crafty energy traders. The fallout from 2000 continues.

Three former energy traders have been sued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), according to the Associated Press. Two of these traders have agreed to settle with the CFTC. One suit remains unresolved.

Michael Whalen is a former Cinergy, which is now Duke Energy, trader. He will pay $200,000 to settle charges of falsely reporting and attempting to manipulate natural gas prices.

Christopher McDonald is a former Mirant vice president. He will pay $350,000 to settle the charges.

Exxon Mobil Blames Duke Energy

Nurses Beat Pension Freeze

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - November 15, 2006, 2006

With the help of their union, UMass Memorial Medical Center employees rejected a pension freeze and a 401 (k), according to www. telegram.com. University Campus nurses and administrators agreed on a new contract - one that retains their original pension plan.

A 401 (k) is great if it is purely a supplemental retirement fund. If the 401 (k) is all you have, or it's tied to a cash balance conversion, you do not have much of a retirement plan. Any time an employee's traditional pension plan is corrupted, much of their future retirement money disappears. That is the only reason that corporations tamper with pension plans - to take money out of them.

Many employees are suing employers for breaking their pension promises. But these nurses did even better than suing, they blew away the pension freeze at its inception! The chances of accomplishing that without a union are about zero. And then, it must be a strong union, not a "company union."

The UMass Memorial Health Care management whined of a $100 million pension deficit. But the deficit is management's problem. It was the fault of management for not adequately funding the pension, not the nurses. The nurses only want the deferred compensation that they are entitled to receive.

In a PBS interview, Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren said "A pension is nothing more than deferred compensation. It's an employer who says, in effect, `I'll pay you $1,000, but $800 of it you'll get in a paycheck today, and the other $200 I'm going to hang onto on your behalf and put it aside, and these are the promises I'll make for you when you retire.' "

Charles Rasmussen, Massachusetts Nursing Association spokesman said "When we came to the table, the pension proposal was one of the many major concessions we were being asked to make, and in trying to work with them (management), some people were saying, `Well, nobody is keeping this (traditional pension plans) anymore.' When our accountants looked at our pension plan and what the hospital would have to do (to provide nurses with a comparable retirement benefit under its proposed 401(k) plan), we saw that it was impossible. It would not happen."

Management then offered to grandfather existing employees and only force new employees into the 401 (k). That would not have been unethical, because the new employees would know up-front what to expect. It is a big difference when a company changes the game after an employee has worked for them for 25 years. The company is effectively penalizing the employee for 25 years of pension value he has accrued.

But the nurses would not buy even this offer! They refused to let management dived the union membership. They knew that sooner or later the battle would be fought again. If the company could divide employees into two plans, it would later use it for leverage to force everyone into the cheaper plan.

Duke Energy is trying to shift all employees into a cheaper cash balance plan now. Duke Energy initially forced all employees into a cash balance plan. This year Duke acquired Cinergy. The CEO of Cinergy gave employees a choice of the traditional plan or a cash balance plan. Only new employees were forced into the cash balance plan. So now, Duke Energy has employees covered under both pension plans. Unionized former Cinergy employees are protected from post merger pension changes for a period of time. Duke Energy is trying to get these employees to volunteer to switch to the cash balance plan. The more it can get to volunteer for the cash balance plan, the less fallout there will be when the rest are forced into it.

Employees have sued Duke Energy over the losses from the cash balance pension conversion. It will be interesting if the Duke Energy cash balance plan is ruled to be illegal and age discriminatory. Duke Energy would then be in the position of trying to force former Cinergy employees into a known illegal cash balance plan.

To make matters even more interesting, the former Cinergy CEO, Jim Rogers, is now the CEO of Duke Energy. He came out wearing a white hat for giving Cinergy employees a choice of pension plans. His hat will turn black if he now tries to force the same employees into the Duke Energy cash balance plan!

Duke Energy Cash Balance Lawsuit

Paul Anderson Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Employee Advocate - www.DukeEmployees.com - November 12, 2006, 2006

Congratulations to Duke Energy Chairman Paul Anderson for winning the 2006 Global Energy Lifetime Achievement award. The award recognizes his accomplishments as a merger and turnaround specialist. Platts will present the award at the 8th annual Global Energy Awards on November 30.

This is a fitting and timely honor as Mr. Anderson prepares to leave Duke Energy to become the Spectra Energy chairman. His performance at Duke Energy has been above reproach.

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