The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has called Duke Energy Chief Executive Officer Jim Rogers to appear before the Commission at 1:00 p.m. on August 13. Rogers is expected to share how the July 3 merger of Duke Energy (Duke) and Progress Energy Florida (PEF) will affect Florida consumers.
In February, the PSC approved a Settlement Agreement (Agreement) between the Office of Public Counsel (OPC) and other intervenors that resolved many PEF issues currently before, or about to be before, the Commission. Providing rate continuity for PEF’s customers through 2016, the Agreement also provides a process for ongoing consultation with OPC, which represents customers, about the decision to repair or retire PEF’s damaged Crystal River Nuclear Unit 3 (CR3). Commissioners want to ensure that Florida’s customers will continue to benefit from the Agreement under the merged company.
Rogers was questioned by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) on July 10 after the new board replaced PEF’s Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson, named in the agreement to head the new company, with Rogers shortly after the merger. During his testimony, Rogers noted a study Duke conducted about CR3, which was to have been presented to the former Duke board during the week before the merger completion. The Florida PSC has requested the study, but has not yet received a copy.
During a maintenance and upgrade project to replace old steam generators in 2009, a crack occurred in a concrete containment building that surrounds CR3’s nuclear reactor, and the plant has been down since and isn’t expected to operate until 2014. In November 2010, the PSC opened Docket No. 100437 to oversee PEF’s engineering analyses and repair cost estimates and ongoing discussions about CR3 with its insurance company, the Nuclear Electric Insurance Ltd.
The NCUC approved the Duke/PEF merger on June 29 under its statutory merger and acquisition authority. Earlier in June, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted its merger approval. Florida PSC approval was not required since it does not have authority to approve mergers and acquisitions.
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