(Raleigh News Observer) Ousted utility chief Bill Johnson and former Progress Energy board members urged state regulators Thursday not to rescind the merger between Progress and Duke Energy during an all-day public hearing in Raleigh that painted dramatic scenes of the days leading up to Johnson’s abrupt dismissal.
Members of the N.C. Utilities Commission repeatedly asked whether the premise of the $32 billion merger – that it will benefit the public – is still valid in the wake of Duke’s merger doubts and Johnson’s firing. Time and again Johnson, and the board members who supported him, assured regulators that despite the CEO shakeup the merger will deliver substantial public benefits.
Johnson chronicled mounting tensions between executives and managers at both power companies over the merger’s costs. Those costs, Johnson said, prompted Duke officials to badmouth the deal to journalists and Wall Street analysts.
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