Duke Energy officials met with staff members of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission late last month after the federal regulator requested more information about the circumstances surrounding the firing of Bill Johnson.
Duke said in a recent regulatory filing that the SEC wanted more information about the decision, which triggered both an N.C. Utilities Commission investigation and a number of shareholder lawsuits.
Duke fired Johnson just hours after completing its $32 billion merger with Raleigh-based Progress Energy.
Johnson had been CEO of Progress. The commission had approved the deal with the understanding that Johnson would be CEO, and is now investigating whether Duke deliberately misled shareholders, customers and public officials. The state Attorney General has also launched an investigation.
Duke said in its regulatory filing that the company will continue to assist SEC staff with any future requests.
Duke has also held talks with the staff of the state Utilities Commission in an attempt to settle its investigation into the Charlotte utility. Duke CEO Jim Rogers said last week that those talks continue, though no agreement has been reached.
Attorneys hired by the commission are expected to spend November interviewing Duke officials and others linked to the investigation.
In a separate matter, the N.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear Attorney General Roy Coopers claim that economic pain to customers wasnt fully considered in Duke Energy Carolinas latest rate increase. The Utilities Commission allowed Duke a 10.5 percent return after hearing from several rate experts. The attorney general says thats too high, but he doesnt say by how much.
Staff writer David Bracken