Issued Monday 5/23/2011
City of Kinston – Press Release
Merger of Duke Energy Corp. and Progress Energy, Inc.
Contact: Mayor BJ Murphy or City Manager Scott Stevens (252) 939-3110
The City of Kinston is concerned and excited about the impact and opportunities the planned merger between Duke Energy Corp. and Progress Energy, Inc. will have on its electric customers. When the merger was announced in January 2011, ElectriCities and its merger team, consisting of elected and appointed officials from across the state, hired a team of experts including attorneys, economists, and utility consultants.
The City has relied on ElectriCities to represent its interests in this merger while working with all 51 public power communities. To ensure that we “left no stone unturned” in looking for opportunities that would benefit Kinston’s electric customers, the Kinston City Council and five other municipalities hired independent experts to pursue unique theories relating to the merger.
Since January, the City has spent many hours discussing the merger with ElectriCities’ consultants, North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency Board of Commissioners, representatives of the five other municipalities, and the independent experts. As a result of these discussions, neither the independent experts nor those hired by ElectriCities believe that debt relief or rate parity with Progress Energy will result from this merger. They have each stated the focus should be on market power issues, joint dispatch of our generation facilities, protection from merger related costs, and improving and protecting our current competitive position. While they may have different strategies on achieving these goals, they are focused on similar areas. In addition, ElectriCities has stated that if negotiations with Progress Energy fail, a merger intervention will be filed.
The Mayor and City Council, in our continuing efforts to look for ways to reduce electric utility costs, believe that our best strategy is to fully support ElectriCities in its negotiations with Progress Energy. Furthermore, should those negotiations falter, we will support a merger intervention.