Attorney General launches probe into Duke - Progress Energy merger

Jul 9, 2012

Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office is launching a probe into Duke Energy’s sudden and controversial management change the day of the merger with Progress Energy. 

WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports that investigators are examining whether Duke Officials lied to regulators.

Just hours after a merger created the largest electric company in the United States, Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson was expected to take the helm of the expanded company.  Instead, he resigned -- in spite of a 3-year employment contract he’d signed just days earlier.  Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers then took the reins. 

The surprise move caused analysts at Standard & Poor’s to put Duke Energy on a watch list for a potential credit downgrade.  And that concerns Attorney General Roy Cooper.  He says he worries a credit rating dip could lead to higher utility rates for consumers. 

On Friday, Cooper filed a Civil Investigative Demand – asking top company officials and directors to submit information and communications from the time leading up to and just after the merger.