With the purchase of Cinergy Corporation announced in 2005 and completed on April 3, 2006, Duke Energy Corporation’s customer base now includes the Midwestern United States as well. The company operates nuclear power plants, coal-fired plants, conventional hydroelectric plants, natural-gas turbines to handle peak demand, and pumped hydro storage. During 2006, Duke Energy also acquired Chatham, Ontario-based Union Gas, which is regulated under the Ontario Energy Board Act (1998)
In 2002, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have identified Duke Energy as the 46th-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States, with roughly 36 million pounds of toxic chemicals released annually into the air. Major pollutants indicated by the study include sulfuric and hydrochloric acid, chromium compounds, and hydrogen fluoride. In 2008 Duke Energy rose to the 13th position in the list, more than doubling its release of toxic chemicals to 80 million pounds per year.
I was reading about Patrick McCrory, a Republican candidate for Governor in North Carolina, who gained my eye by using CSI and Law and Order as a metric as to how the local legal system should work. Two things: One, does he know that those shows are almost overwhelmingly liberal and does he know that on TV stuff kinda happens via “the magic of television”. However, that is just sort of side entertainment, it was his relationship to Duke Energy and Duke’s link to London that caught my eye.
Deregulation was one of those magical panaceas that we keep getting fed by the hardcore capitalists as the ultimate solution to high prices and lack of competition; but in practice we get super high bills and collusion (if you don’t believe that deregulation leads to problems you must have missed the past 10 years in Ontario or the whole Enron debacle).
My point, when I get there, is that Duke Energy bought out Union Gas; which may have been to the benefit to the employees of Union Gas. Will Union Gas, as a Canadian firm owned by an American (of dubious responsibilities) going to be dragged into the morass that is Duke Energy’s poor environmental record? Will we see skyrocketing gas costs when the EPA’s own Banhammer comes down on Duke? What remedy do we have, they are the only game in town. Open markets my ass.