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Duke Energy's document filings now exceed 5,000 pages -- but most are filed under seal.

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The volume of internal corporate records Duke Energy has filed with the N.C. Utilities Commission as part of the agency's investigation into Duke's conduct already exceeds 5,000 pages.

Duke said in filings yesterday that it plans to make additional disclosures in the coming weeks. The filings are part of the fallout from Duke's ill-fated merger with Raleigh-based Progress Energy, which has exposed deep rifts between the two companies and triggered a pair of state investigations.

Only about 600 of Duke's pages are publicly accessible on the commission's web site -- consisting largely of emails sent between board members and CEO Jim Rogers. They have been filed along with nearly 1,900 pages submitted under seal by the Charlotte-based Duke's Raleigh law firm, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice.

The confidential filings cite exemptions to the state's public records laws, which shield records protected by attorney-client privilege as well as corporate trade secrets.

The bulk of the filings, however, were made by the white-shoe New York firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore. This firm is representing six former board members of Progress Energy who joined Duke's board July 2 as part of Duke's merger with Raleigh-based Progress.

Not a single page of the Cravath filings is public.

Together, the filings contain about 5,800 pages. The N.C. Utilities Commission has access to the documents as part of its probe.

The Cravath firm is representing the "legacy" Progress board members who on July 2 stood against the Duke members in a tense vote to remove Bill Johnson as CEO. Johnson had been CEO at Progress and it was understood by Progress board members, employees, shareholders -- as well as by the N.C. Utilities Commission -- that he was to be CEO of the combined Duke after the merger.

Duke's board had arranged for Jim Rogers to be reinstated as CEO upon Johnson's forced resignation.

Since then two of those ex-Progress board members have quit Duke's board in protest and two publicly said they are thinking about resigning.

The utilities commission is investigating whether it was misled by Duke to get the merger approved, and has requested corporate documents dating as far back as mid-2010. The deadline to turn over documents was Tuesday, but Duke said in filings that it will continue producing documents in the coming weeks.

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About the blogger

John Murawski has been a full-time newspaper reporter since 1991, with stints at Legal Times and The Chronicle of Philanthropy (both in Washington, DC), The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Palm Beach Post (in South Florida) before arriving at the N&O in December 2004. At the N&O he covers energy (nuclear, coal, renewable, efficiency), hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"), public utilities and health care. His beat includes PSNC Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, Duke Energy Progress, PowerSecure International, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Biogen Idec and others. He has also contributed more than 30 book reviews on topics spanning botany, history, science and religion. You can reach him at 919-829-8932 or e-mail him.
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