Lights out on valuable good sense

Apr. 02, 2014 @ 11:29 PM

Every time we flick a light switch to turn on the lights, we should be grateful for the reliability of our electricity. It doesn’t take an ice storm, a hurricane or anything else to remind us of that comfort.

Those in America have Duke Energy, more than any other company, to thank for keeping the lights on.

Sadly, Duke Energy is looking to keep us in the dark when things go astray for them. We encourage the power industry giant to reconsider a potential public relations blunder and swallow the damage its accountants are asking lawyers to fix.

In 2013, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources filed a complaint against Duke. Yes, that would be before the coal ash spill into the Dan River, which flows into our beloved Kerr Lake.

Citizens groups became involved with the case. Monday, Duke asked a judge to remove them from its case.

When the coal ash spilled into the Dan, Duke was slow to get in front of it and earned a black eye. Eventually Lynn Good, the CEO, said Duke accepted responsibility and wanted to take action to protect resources.

We’d expect nothing less of a $50 billion company that is the nation’s largest in its industry.

But we have expected more than Duke is apparently willing to accomplish. We were rooted in logic linked to the optimistic customer.

The document in court denies legal liability. Timing forced DENR to withdraw a deal that would have fined Duke less than six figures. And Duke has asked a judge to shield its records from North Carolina regulators and environmental groups.

Duke is trying to turn out the lights on us. What is there to hide?

If successful, customers will keep the company in the black. If unsuccessful, see who can spell rate hike fastest.

We can’t afford the derailment of a federal investigation into a possible cozy relationship between DENR and Duke. And the power company must follow through on its stated goal to work with communities in the clean up and help protect natural resources.

The legal moves are about dollars and cents. Doing the right thing is much more important, something Duke can easily survive fiscally while moving toward a resolution.