Duke Energy made a billion-dollar profit in the third quarter – twice what it reported for the same quarter a year ago, when the company was newly-merged and swallowing significant costs related to that. Duke executives say the quarter would have been even stronger, had it not been for mild summer weather in the region that meant fewer air conditioners sucking up electricity.
Duke CEO Lynn Good told investors on a call this morning the company is on track: "As I step back and view our company 16 months after the merger, I see a company that has successfully addressed post merger uncertainties, achieved significant regulatory clarity and lowered business risk."
Recently-approved rate increases in the Carolinas will continue to boost Duke Energy's bottom line. Legal issues related to the company's merger with Progress Energy are largely resolved, but for a lawsuit from the environmental group NC WARN scheduled to be heard at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the court of appeals in Raleigh.
NC WARN argues that state regulators ignored the harm a Duke/Progress merger could be to local economics and low-income customers. While the merger is unlikely to be reversed by the court, NC WARN hopes to Duke Energy will be forced into more concessions for customers.