Will Departing Duke CEO Rogers Officially Join the Obama Team?

Jim Rogers and windmill photoNow that he’s been forced out as chairman and CEO of Duke Energy, James Rogers is apparently looking for something else to do, and may now be more receptive to the idea of becoming President Obama’s next Secretary of Energy.

The new speculation, primarily from the Charlotte Business Journal, which is based in Duke’s home city, arose following an interview that Rogers did with Bloomberg News while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Whereas Rogers used to routinely dismiss suggestions that he might be up for a cabinet post, when asked this time by Bloomberg reporter Tom Keene what he would bring to the job if the president asked him to serve, he was unhesitant.

“What I would bring is someone that’s been in the industry a long time and understands the importance of getting the balance right between cheap, affordable energy and meeting our …

Democrats Move Funds into Union-Owned Amalgamated Bank

amalgamated-bankUnions have an understandable dislike for doing business with nonunion employers. It’s a matter of self-interest. And as the City of Charlotte prepares to host the Democratic National Convention during September 3-6, a growing roster of labor and politically allied organizations are indicating their displeasure over the party’s decision to hold the event in that decidedly nonunion locale. Some groups, which include an apparently chastened Democratic National Committee, are shifting deposits from the Charlotte-based Bank of America (BoA) to a union-owned New York City institution, Amalgamated Bank. This exodus in large measure has been motivated by payback for BoA bankrolling much of the event. Yet this process, if taken far enough, could result in more investment decisions of the sort that put Amalgamated, and union depositors, in harm’s way not long ago.

Amalgamated Bank isn’t exactly a union. Yet it looms as potentially the most important labor organization in the …

Former Temp CEO Rebuts Allegations of Duke Energy’s Jim Rogers

Bill Johnson photoAs the North Carolina Utilities Commission tries to make sense of the farcical events that surround its approval of the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy into the largest public electricity company in the nation, the deeper they dig, the dumber Duke looks.

Yesterday the 6-member panel (one seat is unfilled due to political wrangling) heard from former Progress CEO Bill Johnson (pictured). Throughout the 18-month merger process the two companies proclaimed to anyone who cared – including federal regulators, utilities commissions in at least six states, and Wall Street – that Johnson would carry that role over to the combined company, while former Duke CEO James Rogers would elevate to chairman.

Instead, according to Johnson’s testimony, within two hours after directors from both companies offered “handshakes, pats on the back, congratulations all around,” he was jettisoned and replaced by Rogers. The hearings were covered by most of …

Jim Rogers’s Power Grab Underscores Politicization of Duke Energy

Jim Rogers and windmill photoAfter a lengthy process that overcame a demanding review at the North Carolina Utilities Commission and two rejections by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Duke Energy won approval to merge with the Tar Heel State’s other major investor-owned utility, Progress Energy.

Then Duke’s board immediately pulled a fast one and fired the man they said all along would be the joint entity’s CEO, Bill Johnson, who would have continued from the same role he had with Progress. Instead leading the new combined company will be Duke’s current CEO, James Rogers. Throughout the merger approval process everyone understood he would abdicate that role to Johnson while remaining as company chairman.

The NCUC and state attorney general, Roy Cooper, were shocked by the move and are not pleased. Even less happy are many (now) former directors for Progress, who told the media last week that they never …

Duke Power Plant Boondoggle to Cost Customers Plenty

white Coke can

A $3.3 billion coal gasification and carbon dioxide capture power plant owned by Duke Energy, built in order to pacify concerns over the fake global warming scare, will increase rates for its Indiana customers by 14.5 percent the next two years.

The Indianapolis Star reported last week that ratepayers will cover nearly $2.6 billion of the plant’s costs, as the result of a deal between the utility, its industrial customers, and Indiana’s government advocate for electricity consumers. Duke’s shareholders will pay for the remainder of the facility, built in Edwardsport, Ind. Between the Charlotte-based utility and its main contractors on the plant – General Electric and Bechtel – construction costs soared from an estimated $1.985 billion in 2006 to $3.3 billion. Carbon dioxide capture and storage, like much renewable energy, is a technology that has not proven viable on a scale that would meet the electricity demands of …

Democratic National Committee Taps Crony Corporations

Obama InvescoAs Democrats struggle to raise funds to coronate President Obama as nominee in Charlotte, N.C. this September, the role of two crony corporations increases daily.

Bloomberg reported yesterday that the president’s re-election organization will consider moving his acceptance speech at the Democrat National Convention to Bank of America Stadium.

Three unidentified Democrats “involved in the fundraising” told the news service the goal would be to sell more skyboxes to wealthy donors, apparently because fewer are available at Time Warner Cable Arena where the convention is presently scheduled.

“The almost 74,000-seat home of the Carolina Panthers professional football team would also have room for the convention to sell more floor passes close to the stage,” Bloomberg reported. “Planners for the event are struggling to meet a $36.6 million fundraising goal, according to the Democrats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter.”

Back in …

Should Duke Energy Shareholders Be Nervous About DNC Loan Guarantee?

Jim Rogers and windmill photoIn March NLPC reported that Duke Energy guaranteed a $10 million loan to the Democratic National Committee to host its 2012 convention in Charlotte, NC – the utility’s hometown. Now Duke CEO James Rogers – who heads the fundraising effort as co-chair of the DNC host committee for the convention – is silent about how much money has been brought in so far.

“One of the things that the DNCC really impresses upon us is that we need to work hard, raise the money, not talk about how much we’ve raised at any time because we just need to keep the momentum going and continuing to raise the money,” Rogers told WFAE, Charlotte’s local public radio station and NPR affiliate.

According to the report, Rogers and his teammates are not allowed to solicit corporations and lobbyists for donations, and “the effort is challenging.” And the muteness about fundraising progress is …