N.C. WARN, the Durham-based nuclear watchdog group, wants to grill Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson or another top-ranking company executive in a public hearing. And if the Raleigh-based electric utility resists, N.C. WARN wants to use subpoena power to force executives to submit to questioning.
N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network laid out its strategy in a filing made Wednesday with the N.C. Utilities Commission. The Durham group's request is part of the endgame in the proposed merger between Progress Energy and Duke Energy.
The N.C. Commission had denied N.C. WARN's previous requests for full hearings, but asked the organization to outline its claims for the legal record. The commission is expected to rule on the proposed merger soon, possibly this week.
N.C. WARN claims that a new hearing on the $26 billion merger is required because a great deal has changed in the months since the commission held merger hearings last September. N.C. WARN is the only one of 26 parties to the proceeding that are still fighting the proposed merger.
One of the N.C. WARN's contentions is that Progress and Duke have cut about 15 private deals with large customers in exchange for promises that those customers won't oppose the merger. The N.C. Commission is separately reviewing N.C. WARN's request to make those confidential settlements public.
Progress and Duke have requested a merger ruling by July 1, a time line that would require a commission ruling this week. They said they need to close the deal by July 8, the date their termination agreement runs out and either could walk away without paying hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties.