Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Duke Energy Duking it Out w/ Protesters

Duke’s odd ‘zero tolerance’ for illegal activity

April 21st, 2009 by John Grooms in Boomer with an Attitude

Yesterday, as you know, 44 people were arrested for trespassing on Duke Energy property when they stepped over a pink line that had been drawn in front of the company’s headquarters. It was regular civil disobedience, almost standard procedure for many protests. But then Duke Energy had to get all smart-assed about it. The company’s spokesperson, Marilyn Lineberger said that Duke respects free speech but has a zero tolerance for illegal activity. Alrighty then. Zero tolerance for illegal activity, huh? I guess Lineberger should have added, “Unless Duke Energy commits it.” Here, for instance, is just a short list of illegal activities she may need to be reminded of:

• In July 2005, the Securities and Exchange Commission imposed a cease-and-desist order on Duke Energy because Duke’s internal accounting controls were insufficient to ensure that its traders properly recorded their trading activities. As a result, Duke Energy illegally classified $56.2 million of the company’s speculative power and natural gas trading operations.
• The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) in 2001 rescinded $14.4 million in payments Duke Energy had received after the company did not make its power plants available for the California market. The CAISO then issued a $4.5 million fine against Duke for failing to follow California market rules during a declared system emergency.
• In July 2004, the California attorney general announced a $207.5 million “electricity price-gouging settlement” with Duke Energy for the company’s role in ripping off the state’s consumers during the energy crisis that led to forced blackouts and almost bankrupted California, harming many small businesses and consumers.
• In December 2003, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission fined Duke Energy $2.5 million, resolving an investigation into allegations that Duke engaged in market gaming practices during the California energy crisis.
• In September 2003, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission fined Duke Energy $28 million for manipulating natural gas markets.

The info comes from Public Citizen.

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