Less than a month after announcing his retirement, the state's top consumer advocate has changed his mind.
Robert Gruber, 67, said this afternoon that he will not step down June 1 as previously planned.
The reason: Gov. Bev Perdue called him on the phone this morning and asked him to reconsider, and Gruber agreed to stay on the job at least until the complex merger is completed between Duke Energy and Progress Energy. That means that Gruber is not likely to retire until early next year, and possibly not until the end of his appointed term in 2013.
For the past 28 years, Gruber has headed the Public Staff, an independent agency that advocates for consumers in utility rates cases involving electric utilities, natural gas companies as well as moving companies and transportation ferries. He is one of the longest-serving public consumer advocates in the nation.