Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The facts about Duke Energy's CEO departure

I noticed an especially boneheaded comment here about Duke Energy's CEO:
It was just reported that the CEO of Duke Energy was just paid $44 million for one days work and then he resigned. How do you like your regulated utility rates? Write your state utility commission and demand a rate cut to return this money!!! Stop the good ol boys and robber barrons.
It should be revolting to any thinking person that an idiot like "Yak," so truly uninformed, can vote. First, energy prices are high because of regulation. Companies can't tap energy sources where they'd like, and now with all the measures to make them more "green," of course they have to sell at higher prices than otherwise. It's a simple point of logic that if "green" energy, or "greener" ways of producing the same energy, were cheaper, then companies would already do it. Who would bother to produce energy with high pollution if the methods really did cost more? There are no two ways about it: to claim "green" or "greener" production is cheaper is to claim that companies not using "green" or "greener" are deliberately engaging in more production because it pollutes more.

Now, the second purpose of my post is not to discuss Duke Energy, Progress Energy, their merger and the regulatory scrutiny behind it, or Bill Johnson. But these are the plain facts that anyone can read about in the news. Yak and his ilk, such as the liberal twits over at Think Progress, think Bill Johnson somehow worked for just one day:
Hours after new Duke Energy CEO Bill Johnson assumed his new position following the Duke/Progress Energy merger this week, he resigned his post. But Johnson can still qualify for up to $44.4 million for his time and effort:
Actually, Johnson had been the CEO of Progress Energy before the merger (for a number of years in the highest leadership), then approved by all involved (including regulators) as CEO of the new company. But it appears that there was a sudden power struggle on day one, and Johnson was ousted. "Resigned," yes, but ousted. This triggered all the respective clauses in the employment contract he'd signed as part of the merger, and we can certainly expect the $44 million included extensions of everything he'd earned in his Progress years. The Powers That Be simply decided that it was worth buying him out to change leaders (to Duke's CEO). And Johnson wasn't the only one.

That's how companies work. If you don't like it, then don't buy their products, and don't invest in them or their business partners. But many of their clients have no others to buy from, liberals are sure to counter with. There's just the problem: it's the government, through all these regulations, that artificially restricts competition.

It should also be mentioned that the new CEO said that the cost of Johnson's severance will be borne by its shareholders (meaning reduced dividends), instead of being passed onto customers. So what are the liberals complaining about, unless they're disgruntled investors that are masquerading as outraged consumers?

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