The merger between Progress Energy and Duke Energy included promises of price breaks for industrial customers in exchange for support of the $32 billion dollar merger. According to the company executives’ testimony before the N.C. Utilities Commission (NCUC), the deals were not meant to be public, but the NCUC unsealed the files last year.
The promised price breaks for industrial customers would be for nearly 4000 industrial customers and would come at the expense of other customers, including residential homeowners and small businesses. These customers would be impacted through a payment increase of 7.3%, while the industrial customers would be getting a rate decrease of .4%.
The rationale from the company is that price breaks for industrial companies would save jobs but ultimately, the utility asks only that the company promises not to lay off any employee and there is no monitoring in place to assure that commitment. If a company does lay off workers, they simply reapply to Progress, with no limit.
As hearings continue, NCUC will make a ruling sometime this summer. Keep an eye on our blog for further updates.