Since the announcement of the planned merger between Progress Energy and Duke Energy, which would make the latter the largest electric utility in the country, Progress CEO Bill Johnson has made several public appearances to explain the details. In remarks he gave to regulators who met in Washington on Monday, Johnson warned of a coming "train wreck" or "tsunami" that government excess is going to bring about:
"It's not hard to imagine the customer pushback that will occur because of the resulting increase in the price of electricity. This pushback will come from industrial customers struggling to be competitive, and from residential customers and small businesses struggling to make ends meet. As indicated, I'm especially sensitive to the households of modest means, where energy represents a disproportionately large share of disposable income."
Ironically this sentiment runs counter to the statements and actions of the person who will be Johnson's new boss, Duke CEO Jim Rogers, who has pushed increased regulations like cap-and-trade as part of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. I explain more in a blog post today at the National Legal and Policy Center.
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