While it is important to protect the environment and address Duke Energy’s violations, we must be sure the punishment fits the crime and that the right people are held accountable.
Sadly, when I hear about penalties and fines, I fear that these will lead to higher rates for consumers, as Duke has to pay for the remediations and fines, and passes these costs on to the consumer. This really has little effect except for public relations on Duke, its shareholders and its management, and makes consumers culpable for management decisions they have no control over. Indeed, we can’t even decide not to get our energy from Duke if we are in its service area, unless we can find a way to get completely off the grid, which is costly and impractical.
Why can’t we make sure that any costs for violations and fines come directly from Duke profits, without the benefit of any rate increases, so that those affected most are shareholders and management, versus rate payers?
I bet we would see a lot more attention paid to these things if that were the case and far fewer violations and problems.