Duke CEO Points To More Troubling Emails
As Duke Energy digs deeper into its email archive, it has uncovered more evidence that its top executives were having secret conversations with Indiana utility regulators about a new power plant. This latest revelation comes directly from the CEO of Duke. In a letter dated March 7, Duke CEO Jim Rogers tells the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission that he has "reviewed over 9,000 emails" and found certain documents that "might be construed to suggest" improper conversations between the utility company and its top Indiana regulator. The emails show the former President of Duke's Indiana operation discussing cost overruns with the Chairman of the Regulatory Commission. That's significant because Duke was seeking permission to pass on to its customers the skyrocketing cost of a new coal-fired power plant in Indiana. The parties reached a legal settlement to put a cap on those charges. Emails included in Jim Rogers' letter show secret conversations about that cap took place between Duke Energy and the Chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. One exchange even suggests an effort to limit any written record of those conversations. So why is Rogers bringing this all to light? It appears, mainly, to set the record straight. Back in November, Rogers appeared at a hearing before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and said,"I do not believe that there have been any inappropriate ex parte communications with this commission with respect to this plan." Rogers says he wasn't lying, he just hadn't yet seen all the emails between his top executives and Indiana regulators. Rogers says in his letter that he doesn't think the emails are proof of any "undue influence" on the power plant rulings that followed, particularly since the cost settlement agreement has been withdrawn and the Duke executives who wrote the emails have since resigned or been fired.