With former Duke Energy executive Pat McCrory now sworn in as governor of North Carolina, Duke Energy could be more powerful than ever — and that’s not a good thing.
The company’s controversial merger with Progress Energy has been settled, making Charlotte-based Duke Energy the largest electric utility in the country. The environmental advocacy group N.C. WARN estimates Duke now controls roughly 97 percent of North Carolina’s electricity.
An analysis [PDF] by Democracy North Carolina found that before the merger, the two companies’ combined 2009-10 spending of roughly $19 million on lobbying and campaign expenditures would have made it the state’s largest corporate political action committee.
With the merger, the newly created utility giant is now poised to exert an even greater influence on lawmakers from both N.C. political parties.
McCrory worked at Duke for nearly three decades, and his employment there continued during his seven-term run as the Republican mayor of Charlotte. That’s fine — being mayor is technically a part-time job.