CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The North Carolina Utilities Commission staff entered into a settlement agreement with Duke Energy and the Public Staff -- North Carolina Utilities Commission.
If approved by the Commission, the agreement will conclude the commission's investigation arising from the termination of William D. Johnson as CEO of Duke on July 2, 2012.
A spokeswoman from the Attorney General's Office said the office has not agreed to the settlement and the investigation is ongoing.
Provisions in the agreement include:
• Duke will make several changes in its top management positions, including naming a new counsel and naming a former progress executive as vice president for Regulated Utilities. In addition, James E. Rogers will retire as CEO of Duke on December 31, 2013, as he originally planned to do in conjunction with the merger.
• Duke's Board of Directors will create a CEO and Board Member Search Committee with a balanced number of former Duke and former Progress Board members, plus a new Board member not previously affiliated with either of the two companies. This search committee will identify candidates for the CEO and new Board member positions.
• Duke will create and maintain a new committee of its Board of Directors to meet with the commission periodically to receive comments from the commission on the activities and actions of the Duke Board.
• Duke will guarantee that Duke's North Carolina retail ratepayers will receive an additional $25 million in fuel and fuel-related cost savings over and above the amount that Duke is obligated to provide pursuant to the Commission's Order approving the merger.
• Duke will contribute an additional $5 million to workforce development and low-income assistance in North Carolina over and above the amount that Duke is obligated to provide pursuant to the commission's Order approving the merger.
• Duke will maintain at least 1,000 employees, including the president of Duke Energy North Carolina and the vice president of Carolinas Delivery Operations, in Raleigh for at least five years.
The settlement agreement will be presented to the commission for approval at its regular Staff Conference on Monday.
"It has been an honor serving as CEO for the past 24 years and working in a dynamic industry that provides an essential service for our customers," Rogers said in a statement. "My continuing focus for the remainder of my tenure will be on positioning Duke Energy as a stronger, more efficient organization for many years to come, while continuing to fully realize the significant benefits of the merger for our customers and investors."