Saturday, January 15, 2011

Progress to Brief PSC on Merger Plans

The PSC will have an allowable ex parte briefing from Progress Energy on its planned merger with Duke Energy.  The briefing will be held Thursday, January 20th at 2:30 p.m. in the Commission's hearing room at 101 Executive Center Drive, Columbia, South Carolina.  This is a public meeting.

Solar Panel Maker Moves Work to China -

"BEIJING — Aided by at least $43 million in assistance from the government of Massachusetts and an innovative solar energy technology, Evergreen Solar emerged in the last three years as the third-largest maker of solar panels in the United States.

Michael El-Hillow, chief executive of Evergreen, said falling prices for panels led to the closing.
But now the company is closing its main American factory, laying off the 800 workers by the end of March and shifting production to a joint venture with a Chinese company in central China. Evergreen cited the much higher government support available in China."

Change will be slow at Progress following merger | SCNOW

"Sutton said savings in later years could come from the elimination of duplicate personnel. While no personnel reductions are expected for at least year, eventually “some of the work force will be reduced at both companies,” he said.

Sutton said most of the duplication among the two companies is at the corporate level.

“Because there is no overlap in the service areas, all the people at generation facilities, and in the field, they’ve still got the same work to do,” he said. “But corporate services — there is some duplication there.”

That’s generally good news for Progress’ employees in the Pee Dee, where most of the work is related to power generation and service.

Sutton said the company expects to manage most of the work-force reduction, when it comes, through attrition and careful management of vacancies.

It is likely Progress eventually will offer early retirement packages to its employees, he said."

SCE&G customers set winter power record - Bloomberg

"South Carolina's largest private utility said its customers used 4,872 megawatts of electricity during the 8 a.m. hour Friday. That broke the previous record of 4,720 megawatts set on Jan. 11, 2010."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Green planet, green jobs - Local / Metro -

Sammy Fretwell
"They also want a ban on phosphorous detergents — which has been done in 15 other states — and legislation requiring audits for wastewater plants that routinely spill sewage. And they advocate increased funding for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the Conservation Bank and the State Forestry Commission."

Progress CEO in line for nearly $8M in pay -

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, left, and Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson on Wednesday. If the merger is approved, Rogers will be executive chairman and Johnson CEO of the combined companies
By Christina Rexrode and Alan M. Wolf
If the merger is approved, Johnson, 57, will make a base salary of $1.1 million, according to the company's regulatory filings. He also would be eligible for incentive compensation worth up to about $6.9 million, and various other perks under Duke's compensation policy, including use of the corporate aircraft. He also would be reimbursed for expenses related to his relocation to Charlotte, where the combined company would be based.

US utilities: proposed merger depends on regulators' opinion as to whether customers will benefit

"However, seeing as how the companies operate as regulated monopolies, the final decision rests with a number of federal and state regulators. Given the fragmented and regionalized nature of the energy market in the US, the merger does little to encourage competition. The only way consumers would benefit from this merger is through cost savings shared via lower electricity rates. However, both firms are currently pressing for rate increases."

Marion Garden club upset with tree pruning | SCNOW

"Representatives from Progress Energy spoke with members of the Azalea Garden Club during their monthly meeting Thursday to exlpain the way trees are pruned around power lines.

Members of the garden club have been upset with the condition with which the trees were left after pruning.

“My concern is that someone needs to pay close attention to what’s going on, because this is a tree city and I think our tree city is going to be flattened if someone doesn’t,” Azalea Garden Club member Charlene Marshall said"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

DC appeals court sets date in nuclear dump lawsuit - State & Regional - Wire -

"LAS VEGAS — A Washington, D.C., appeals court plans oral arguments March 22 in a lawsuit aimed at blocking the federal government from pulling the plug on plans to bury the nation's nuclear waste in Nevada.
South Carolina, Washington state, Aiken County, S.C., and three Washington state business owners claim the Obama administration overstepped authority in cutting funding for the Yucca Mountain project."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Support for Renewable Energy Resources Reaches Highest Level Yet -Rasmussen Reports™

The number of voters who say investing in renewable energy resources is the best investment for America has reached its highest level since the beginning of 2010.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds that 66% say renewable energy resources like solar and wind are the best long-term investment for America. Twenty-three percent (23%) say fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil are the better investment, while 11% are not sure which is best for America. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Making the Consumer an Active Participant in the Grid -

"In his view, the energy future of the United States looks radically different from its past. Most notably, he sees consumers as active parts of the grid, providing energy via their own solar panels or wind turbines, a system called distributed generation; stabilizing the grid by adjusting demand through intelligent appliances or behavior modification, known as demand response; and storing energy for various grid tasks. He thinks consumers should get paid to provide these services."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Law firms target Duke/Progress deal | Charlotte Business Journal

John Downey
Senior Staff Writer
"At least seven law firms are publicly soliciting Progress Energy shareholders for potential class-action suits challenging the company’s proposed $13.7 billion sale to Duke Energy.
Such solicitations follow merger announcements as night follows day. Official word of the merger crossed the wires with a joint announcement at 7 a.m. Monday. The first law-firm solicitation the Charlotte Business Journal found crossed the wire two hours later"

Merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy would create largest U.S. utility

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 10, 2011; 9:59 PM
"Along with customers and power plants, Duke Energy will acquire William Johnson, chief executive of Progress, who will be chief executive of the new combined company. That will free Rogers to pursue his principal interest, U.S. policy and strategy.

Rogers, who will have the title 'executive chairman,' and Johnson will both sit on an 18-member board of directors, 11 of whom will be designated by Duke's current board and seven by Progress's directors."

Deal boosts energy hub plan - Business -

David Perlmutt
"A merger would come with short-term pain as the two companies cut redundant jobs.
Duke trimmed about 1,500 jobs when it merged with Cincinnati-based Cinergy in 2006. Last year, Duke announced that about 900 employees had agreed to take buyouts as part of cost-cutting moves and consolidation of some corporate functions between Charlotte and Cincinnati. Duke has 18,500 workers total, including about 7,600 in North Carolina.
Jennifer Roberts, chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, said that while she was excited about the prospects of the merger, she’s concerned about the potential job loss."

NC advocate seeks merger savings for customers - Financial & Business - Wire -

"State regulators will demand information from the companies about the scale of their expected savings over the next three to five years, then negotiate a slice of that for consumers, said Robert Gruber, head of the North Carolina Utilities Commission's Public Staff. The merger, which is targeted for completion at the end of 2011, would require state and federal regulator approvals."

Utility readies for major problems - Local / Metro -

"Late Monday afternoon, however, SCE&G reported only brief outages for 17 customers in Lexington and Richland counties.
But many more could occur today after ice sits in branches overnight."

No power?
Call SCE&G at (888) 333-4465. You can also text sceg/mobile with your cell phone.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Duke Energy buying Progress Energy for over $13B - Financial & Business - Wire -

If this deal is approved, the combined company would have the third largest fleet of nuclear power plants in the country. They have applications with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build three new power plants, though the companies have no plans to begin construction."

Duke Said to Name Progress’s Johnson CEO After Merger - BusinessWeek

By Zachary R. Mider and Mark Chediak
"Duke, led by Chairman and CEO James Rogers, may announce as early as tomorrow a stock merger valuing Raleigh, North Carolina-based Progress at slightly more than its Jan. 7 market value of $13.1 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said. Rogers, 63, plans to hand off the Duke CEO job to Johnson, 57, and to remain on the board, the three people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the talks are private."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Duke Nears Deal to Buy Progress Energy -

"Under the terms of the proposed all-stock deal, which could be announced as soon as Monday, Duke would value Progress at a little over $13.1 billion, according to people briefed on the matter. Final details were still being negotiated and the talks could still fall apart, said these people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the negotiations."

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