Duke Energy’s annual meeting will be online only in May

Duke Energy will move its annual meeting, traditionally held in uptown Charlotte, to a live video webcast on May 4 that will be available only online.

Duke called the change an effort to improve the ability of its 1 million shareholders in 30 countries to take part in the meeting. It cited a growing list of other companies including Sprint and HP that have done the same.

But the annual meetings have become increasingly riotous affairs in recent years, with environmental protesters patrolling the sidewalk outside and lining up to confront chairman and CEO Lynn Good during the meeting.

Asked if those scenes prompted Duke to go online, spokesman Tom Williams said “the focus is on reaching more shareholders and having a consistent and positive experience in the meeting.”

Shareholders will be able to watch presentations, vote on shareholder proposals and pose questions to Good through a website, Duke said. The online format will allow Good to answer more shareholder questions during the meeting or after it through a web posting, the company said.

Duke will also no longer publish its annual report in printed form after the 2016 to be released in March. The 2016 Sustainability Report, available in April, will be online only.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender