Progress NC raises questions as Utilities Commission meets in Asheville

Here’s the press release from Progress NC:

Progress NC calls on Gov. McCrory to Divest, Recuse or Veto
As NC Utilities Commission meets in Asheville, SB10 raises specter of conflict of interest

ASHEVILLE – As the NC State Utilities Commission holds a hearing today in Asheville, one must ask the question: “Is this really the commission that will decide on energy rate hikes?” Duke/Progress Energy are seeking a double-digit hike in residential electricity rates.

But Senate Bill 10, a measure making its way through the state legislature, would actually fire all existing members of the State Utilities Commission and give Gov. McCrory the power to appoint a whole new board. SB10 has been roundly criticized by independent observers. The Charlotte Observer called it “one of the more blatant power grabs in state history” and the Greensboro News & Record said it was a “shameless, disruptive attempt to grab power.”

Remember, Gov. McCrory worked at Duke Energy for almost three decades. As Mayor of Charlotte, McCrory regularly provided favors for Duke. In return, Duke Energy and its employees have spent over $1 million to help get McCrory elected governor.

We also know that Gov. McCrory owns thousands of dollars in Duke Energy stock and rate hikes will improve the stock price. Yes, that’s right. SB10 will give Pat McCrory the ability to enhance his own wealth.
Progress NC is calling on Gov. McCrory to take one of three actions that will resolve the flagrant conflict of interest. He can:

1. Disclose and divest his Duke stock holdings;
2. Recuse himself from appointments to the State Utilities Commission; or
3. Veto SB10.

“This sweeping, unprecedented power grab by a power mad group of state lawmakers and the Governor would place special interests above the interests of regular citizens and electricity ratepayers,” said Gerrick Brenner of Progress NC. “The biggest winner would be the state’s leading power company, a major campaign contributor and former McCrory employer, Duke Energy.”

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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