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Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK)

2012 Annual Meeting of Shareholders

May 03, 2012 10:00 am ET

Executives

Bill Currens -

James E. Rogers - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Marc E. Manly - Chief Legal Officer, Group Executive and Secretary

Nancy Wright -

A. R. Mullinax - Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President of Duke Energy Business Services

Bill Currens

Hi, good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Bill Currens, and I am Managing Director of Investor Relations for Duke Energy. Welcome to the 2012 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. We are broadcasting this annual meeting by teleconference and webcast, and I also welcome everyone online and on the phone.

It is us our custom to start the meeting with a safety message. In the unlikely event of an emergency, the primary exits from this auditorium are the doors behind the stage to your right. Please exit through those doors, turn right and proceed down Stonewall Street. For those of you in the atrium area, you can exit out the front door, turn right, go out the building, then turn right again and proceed down Stonewall Street. If anyone needs assistance, security and safety personnel will be available to assist you. If we do have to evacuate, please do not reenter the building until you have been told that it's safe to do so.

As you entered the auditorium this morning, you should have received a copy of the meeting program. If you did not, please raise your hand and we will bring one to you. In order to provide for an orderly, safe and informative meeting, I would ask that you please take a moment to read the conduct of the meeting procedures found inside the meeting program. Please be sure that all cell phones are turned off at this time.

Now let me quickly review the items for this morning's program. In a moment, I will introduce our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Rogers, who will call the meeting to order. After taking care of certain procedural matters, Jim will introduce Duke Energy's Board of Directors. We will then move on to the business portion of the agenda, which includes the following items: the election of the Board of Directors for 1-year terms expiring in 2013; the ratification of Deloitte & Touche LLP as the company's independent public accountant for 2012; the approval on an advisory basis of Duke Energy Corporation's named executive officer compensation, also referred to as say-on-pay; the approval of the Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of Duke Energy Corporation to reduce the required affirmative vote needed for certain actions from 80% to 75%; and the consideration of 2 shareholder proposals that are described in your proxy statement. All of these matters will be voted on before moving to the question-and-answer section of the meeting.

As we begin, let me inform you that today's discussion will include forward-looking information and the use of non-GAAP financial measures. You should refer to information contained in our SEC filings concerning factors that could cause those results to differ from this forward looking information. A reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures can be found on the Investor Relations section of our website at www.duke-energy.com.

Now it is my pleasure to introduce our CEO, Jim Rogers.

James E. Rogers

Bill, thank you very much. Good morning to all of you. The meeting will please come to order. I'm Jim Rogers. I want to welcome all of you to this 2012 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. In accordance with Delaware general corporate law, I appoint Nancy Wright, Associate General Counsel here at Duke Energy; and Sid Rodrigue of Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, our proxy tabulator to act as inspectors of election of this meeting. Nancy and Sid, would you all please stand?

Our group Executive Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, Marc Manly, also acting as secretary of the meeting, will now report the number of shares entitled to vote and the number of shares and votes represented in person or by proxy at this meeting.

Marc E. Manly

Thank you, Jim. As of the close of business on March 5, 2012, Duke Energy Corporation had outstanding and entitled to vote 1,337,961,335 shares of common stock, each of which is entitled to one vote. They're here at this meeting, represented by proxy, 1,129,133,726 shares of the Corporation's common stock, which constitute 83.39% of the total shares entitled to vote. The final report of the inspectors of election will include votes, if any, of the shareholders present and voting in person at the meeting.

James E. Rogers

Thank you, Marc. Legal notice of this meeting has been duly given. A quorum is present, and the meeting is now lawfully convened for the transaction of business.

First, I have the pleasure of introducing the members of your Board of Directors, all of whom are here with us today. As I introduce each of them, I'll ask them to stand and be recognized. Bill Barnet, Chairman, President and CEO of Barnet Development Corporation; Alex Bernhardt, Chairman of Bernhardt Furniture Company; Michael Browning, Chairman and President of Browning Investments; Dan DiMicco, Chairman, President and CEO of Nucor Corporation; John Forsgren, retired Vice Chairman, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Northeast Utilities; Ann Gray, former President, Diversified Publishing Group of ABC, Inc. and our Lead Director; Jim Hance, retired Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer for Bank of America; Jim Reinsch, retired Senior Vice President and partner of Bechtel Group; Jim Rhodes, retired Chairman, President and CEO of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations; and Phil Sharp, President of Resources for the Future.

Also seated in the first few rows are the members of our management team. In the interest of time, I will not introduce them individually. I hope you had a chance to meet some of them on your way in, if not, I urge you to do so after this meeting.

I want to express my personal appreciation to the directors and the management team for their support and commitment to the company and also to you, our investors. I would also like to introduce Tom Bowman, from our Corporate Security Department, who is serving as Sergeant of Arms. Finally, I would like meet -- like you to meet Charlie Muha and Jason Enoch of Deloitte & Touche, the company's independent public accountant.

We will now proceed with the matters to be voted on. We have a declassified Board of Directors, which means all of the directors are up for election every year at the annual meeting. The Board of Directors has duly nominated directors Barnett, Bernhardt, Browning, DiMicco, Forsgren, Gray, Hance, Reinsch, Rhodes, Sharp and myself. They have been nominated for election as directors for one year, terms expiring at 2013. These nominees, as set forth beginning on Page 5 of the proxy statement, are hereby considered presented for the purpose of voting for their election as directors.

The selection of Deloitte & Touche as the company's independent public accountant for 2012 as set forth on Page 18 of the proxy statement is also hereby presented for the purpose of ratification.

A vote on an advisory basis of our named executive officer compensation, as disclosed on Page 20 of the proxy statement, is hereby presented for approval.

The amendment of the Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of the company, as set forth on Page 21 of the proxy statement, is hereby presented for approval.

Also to be presented are 2 proposals we have received from our shareholders: the first relating to the preparation of a report on the financial risks of continued reliance on coal; and the second, regarding an amendment to our organizational documents to require majority voting for the election of directors.

We take all proposals submitted by our shareholders very seriously.

I would like to ask Marc Manly to introduce these proposals at this time. Marc?

Marc E. Manly

Thank you, Jim. As Jim mentioned, this year we're not able to resolve 2 proposals and for the reasons outlined in our proxy. The Board of Directors have recommended a vote against both of these shareholder proposals. In the interest of time, we will not discuss our reasons for our opposition, but they're spelled out in the proxy statement made available to all of our shareholders.

I will now ask the proponents and give them an opportunity to present his or her proposal and a brief supporting statement. I'd like to remind those presenting that your remarks should be limited to the proposal. There will be time later in the meeting for Q&A, if you're interested.

The first shareholder proposal relates to the preparation of a report on the financial risks of continued reliance on coal, as set forth beginning on Page 22 of the proxy statement. Here to present this proposal on behalf of the proponent is Andrew Behar. Mr. Behar, would you come forward to the mic to present your proposal?

Andrew Behar

Thank you. Members of the Board, Mr. Rogers and assembled shareholders, good morning. My name is Andrew Behar, and I'm the CEO of As You Sow, a shareholder advocacy organization. I'm here to move resolution #5 on the proxy. As You Sow has filed this proposal on behalf of Lisa Restrom. The proposal request that Duke Energy Board of Directors report to shareholders on plans to reduce our company's exposure to coal-related costs and risks, including progress toward achieving specific goals to minimize commodity risk, emissions other than greenhouse gases, costs of environmental compliance and construction risks. The proponent asks you to vote yes on proposal #5. We believe that Duke's reliance on coal exposes our company to material financial risks, and that Duke has not disclosed a long-term plan to mitigate these risks.

In the past several years, the combination of environmental compliance costs, commodity and construction risks have rendered older unscrubbed coal units uneconomical, and the prospects for the remaining coal plants are increasingly uncertain and risky. Coal is already a negative financial driver for our company.

Duke has just announced that it will take $420 million charge, $0.20 a share for cost overruns at the Edwardsport plant, where costs have skyrocketed from $1.9 billion to $3.3 billion. This proposal is subject to the approval of the Indiana Regulatory Commission, which is also examining charges of fraud, concealment and gross mismanagement by Duke executives related to the plant construction. Duke already recorded a pretax charge of $265 million related to the project. Construction costs at another new coal plant, Cliffside Unit 6, have also risen to $2.4 billion from the $1.8 billion initial estimate. Despite its investments in new coal plants, our company is trying to defer or cancel deliveries [ph] from coal units from its existing plants, Duke expects to burn 40% less coal in Indiana than last year.

Progress is also renegotiating coal contracts and selling coal to exporters sometimes at a loss. Reports point to record-low natural gas prices and weaker demand as the main drivers behind these moves. We're concerned that Duke's new coal plants might never be economical to operate, like the new Spiritwood coal plant in North Dakota that was built with state-of-the-art controls but was mothballed before it generated any electricity. According to Fitch Ratings, fully 25% of Duke's total coal capacity is at risk of retirement due to lack of environmental controls. Once the merger with Progress is complete, the combined company will be the nation's largest utility and will depend on coal for 42% of its generating capacity. With 89 coal-fired units, 56 units lack sulfur dioxide controls, none have mercury controls. While both Duke and Progress are retiring coal plants, any regulations and more stringent enforcement of existing regulations make it highly likely that Duke will have to make additional large investments to bring their remaining coal plants into compliance with evolving rules.

At a time when coal's share of the U.S. electric market is shrinking and coal assets are losing value, investors must exercise enhanced diligence regarding investments in coal-dependent utilities Duke's mitigation plans should provide specific goals to reduce the commodity, regulatory compliance and construction risks from its reliance on coal, so that investors will be more fully informed about how our company is reducing these material risks to shareholder value. We therefore urge you to vote yes on proposal #5 on the proxy.

Thank you very much.

Marc E. Manly

Thank you, Mr. Behar. The second shareholder proposal relates to an amendment to our organizational documents to require majority voting for the election of directors as set forth beginning on Page 25 of the proxy statement. Here to present this proposal on behalf of the proponent, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, is Randy Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins, would you come to the podium and present your proposal?

Randy Jenkins

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm Randy Jenkins, representing the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Pension Fund, which, along with other carpenters funds, holds approximately 610,000 shares of Duke energy common stock. Our funds take a long-term patient investment perspective, and it's that ownership perspective that motivates our advocacy for majority voting in director elections. The majority vote standard proposal presents a simple proposition: in board elections, when there is no opposition to the slate of candidates, each nominee should receive half the votes cast to be elected. It's fair and reasonable. Unfortunately, the board continues to support plurality voting in director elections, which means that in uncontested elections that the outcome is guaranteed. Every nominee will be elected. Shareholders have no meaningful voting rights in these elections.

The board's response to the majority vote proposal has been to establish a director resignation policy but keep plurality voting. Under the board's resignation policy, a director who is duly elected but who receives a majority of so-called withhold votes, is required to tender his or her resignation for board consideration.

Two questions for the board. First, why is this resignation policy built upon withhold votes that are not even legal votes? And second, why should a director, who is duly elected in accordance with state law and the company's governance documents, be required to tender his or her resignation?

A director resignation policy only makes sense when combined with a majority vote standard, and majority vote standard used in uncontested directory elections establishes a meaningful vote threshold and provides shareholder real voting rights. A companion resignation policy then provides a post-election process in which the board can exercise its judgment and make decisions on the continued status of unelected directors. That is exactly what over 400 of the S&P 500 index companies and every major Duke Energy peer company has done in recent years.

Once again, we urge the Duke Energy Board of Directors to establish a majority vote standard along with its director resignation policy and join the mainstream of American corporations on this important election reform.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Marc E. Manly

Thank you, Mr. Jenkins. That concludes our presentation of proposals before us at this annual meeting. If you are shareholders in the audience have not previously voted your shares or if you'd like to change your vote, a vote by ballot will now be taken for each of these items.

And I turn it to Ms. Wright.

Nancy Wright

Mr. Chairman, shareholders, the polls are now open. If you want to vote by ballot, please raise your hand. The polls will close in just a few minutes. So after you've received your ballots, please complete it and raise your hand again so we can collect it.

Does anyone need a ballot?

[Voting]

Does anyone else need a ballot?

[Voting]

James E. Rogers

There's one down here and 2 over there.

Nancy Wright

The polls are now closed. If you've not yet returned your ballot, please raise your hand so we can collect it now.

James E. Rogers

I will now ask Marc Manly for the inspectors of election report.

Marc E. Manly

Thank you, Jim. Based on the proxies we received prior to this meeting, first, each nominee for director has received the approval of more than 90% of the shares voted, more than sufficient for his or her election.

Second, the ratification of Deloitte & Touche as the company's independent public accountant for 2012 has received the required affirmative vote of shareholders sufficient to ensure ratification.

Third, the approval on advisory basis of our named executive officer compensation has received the required affirmative vote of shareholders sufficient for approval.

Fourth, the amendment of the Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation has failed to receive the votes necessary for approval and, therefore, is rejected.

Finally, the 2 shareholder proposals have not achieved their required votes necessary for approval, so they have failed as well.

As Nancy mentioned, any shares voted at the meeting today will be tabulated and included in the final vote and filed with the minutes of this meeting.

James E. Rogers

Thank you, Marc. The final reports of the inspectors of election are hereby ordered to be filed with the minutes of this meeting. This concludes our 2012 Annual Meeting.

What I would like to do at this time, if I may, since all of us are gathered is to spend a few moments and make a few comments with respect to our company and where it is and then answer any questions that you all might have.

If I look back to last year from a shareholder's perspective, we did a terrific job. We had 30% total shareholder return. We increased our dividend, and we outperformed the indexes. We outperformed the indexes for not just last year, but for the last 3 years and for the last 5 years. At the heart of our value proposition, at the very heart, is our dividend, and we are very committed to maintaining that dividend and growing that dividend going forward.

Also, I would say that from a customer's perspective, we have gone to work to modernize our generation fleet. We have spent -- are spending, over $7 billion, that will allow us to retire 3,700 megawatts of old high-admitting coal plants. And as a consequence of that, we're building plants because at the end of the day, our customers care about affordable, reliable, clean electricity 24/7. And so we're working as hard as we can to make sure that happens. And we make this transition because when you invest $7 billion for modernization, by definition, that translates into higher prices, and we're very mindful of that. But we're trying to make the transition in a way that minimizes the cost impact. So at the end of the day, our consumers continue to get reliable electricity 24/7, and it is much cleaner than the electricity that they have received from us in the past.

The other important thing that I would share with you is that while we've invested in our regulated business and traditional generation, 2 of the most -- cleanest coal plants in the United States, one here in North Carolina, the other one in Indiana. And the one in Indiana is using a scale-up of an advanced technology. That both of these plants really allow us to retire more the inefficient plants, the high-emitting plants. We're building 2 gas combined cycle plants, both here in Indiana -- I mean, in North Carolina, and those plants, one was brought online last year. And as a consequence of bringing that online and with low gas prices, it's being dispatched after our nuclear and before our most efficient coal plants.

The point is, is that we are really working to make this transition. We're also investing in our grid, our distribution grid. We're investing in productivity gains in the use of electricity, so that our customers will use energy even more wisely in the future than they have in the past.

The other thing that we have done is we've made significant investment over the last 3 to 4 years in wind and solar. In fact, we're the fifth largest producer of electricity from wind in the United States. But we're building this generation in areas where the wind blows. We're building it in areas where there's a huge demand for wind. And we have a video that I would like to share with you that is a -- talks about our investments in wind and the progress that we've made in developing the wind. So if we can roll this quick video, it will give you a sense of our investments in wind.

[Presentation]

We've invested in wind, which is so critical and an important component to the mix of generation in the United States in the future.

I would now turn to carbon-free nuclear energy, which also remains a key component of our long-term modernization strategy. Nuclear energy is vital to our nation's and our world's energy future. It is the only technology that is available today that can reliably generate carbon-free baseload electricity 24/7. We're firmly committed to retaining our option to build new nuclear generation.

The operating licenses for our existing nuclear facilities will begin to expire in the early 2030 time frame. Therefore, now is the time to begin the process of determining how to best replace that generation or develop plans to extend the lives of those units. We expect to receive the operating license for our proposed Lee Nuclear Station in South Carolina next year. This 2-reactor station could go online as early as 2021 but only if we get appropriate construction cost recovery assurances from regulators in North Carolina, our demand increases and we see rising prices in gas.

Additionally, we continue to perform due diligence on a potential purchase of a 5% to 10% interest in the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in South Carolina. As you are most likely aware, this project received its COL earlier this year. We believe that regional nuclear generation makes a lot of sense as it smooths out the customer rate impact and adds less immediate stress to the balance sheet, providing greater flexibility for our projects.

Of course, the cleanest generator is the one we don't have to build. That's why we continue our efforts to help folks use energy more efficiently through a variety of financial incentives. Our programs, accompanied by new digital smart meters and transmission upgrades, have not only reduced electric usage, they have helped us to improve our system's reliability.

This corporate commitment was recognized in 2011 when Duke Energy was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for the second year in a row. We were 1 of only 13 utilities worldwide selected out of 102 candidates in our industry sector. It's important, as I conclude, to say that every person in this company is committed to providing affordable, reliable, clean electricity but doing it in the safest way possible because safety is our highest priority of all the things that we do.

And so with that, let me stop and open it up to any questions that you all might have.

Question-and-Answer Session

James E. Rogers

Yes, sir?

Unknown Attendee

As a matter of perspective, my first job was working at the Bowater plant down in Fort Mill, South Carolina, working 10 hours a day, breaking concrete forms with a sledgehammer or digging ditches. The job at the time paid $6.10 an hour. And at almost 3x the minimum wage, I thought it was all the money in the world. I worked all summer and bought my first 2 stocks at age 18, Duke Power and Republic Bank. I was told then that Duke Power was a regulated monopoly in a growth market economy, the kind of stock that was appropriately safe for widows and orphans. In my 27 years working for and owning a small family business in Charlotte, I've seen some changes. My grandfather remembered when Trade and Tryon were dirt roads. He was forced to quit school at 12 and go to work for AT&T as a messenger boy. And then he worked through the divisive labor strikes, and he told his family that the scab lists he was on were honor rolls. My dad, John Caymore [ph], was very much influenced by his father-in-law, having grown up on a family farm. And he worked from can't to can't, or can't see in the morning for lack of daylight, to can't see in the evening for the same time. What I've seen lately, are family fortunes, built over generations, dashed by the unavoidable fact that Wachovia and Bank of America were financially insolvent. I saw Glass-Steagall, the financial law of the land since 1933, scrapped by the banking lobby. The corporate leaders at the time, and they're all politicians, insured us, the Charlotte residents and the world, that we needed less regulation for growth and job creation. Wachovia shares now are worth a dime on the dollar, and Bank of America limps along like a welfare queen by the grace of the American taxpayer.

James E. Rogers

Do you have a question for me, sir?

Unknown Attendee

No, sir, I have some brief comments, and then I'll be out of your hair. If the merger goes through with Progress Energy, Duke will now become the largest lobby in the country, replacing Bank of America. Such an unholy marriage of big government and big business will not end well. Yourself and the politicians are going to push for new nuclear facilities that Wall Street, Main Street and no private market on the planet will touch for 2 reasons: danger and cost. Since 1940, all of the world's technology has produced no solution for uranium or plutonium waste, a carcinogen so toxic, a does the size of a pinhead is fatal for humans if ingested. If a merger goes through, the scrubber-less coal plants and unaligned coal ash ponds that share an aquifer with Charlotte's sole source of drinking water will remain. If the plan resumes, Charlotte, the City of Trees, will continue to have the worst air quality east of the Mississippi. Now are we ready for the good news? Duke has the political might and the financial wherewithal to reverse course. Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Germany has shuttered its nuclear program and closed 8 plants. Viewed as an honorable stance but risky financially, these plants closing have led to less emissions and 23% renewables, Germany now boasts at its power generation. And also, since it has shuttered its nuclear program, it has become a net exporter of energy. And that's something that nobody saw. And not only that, let's see here, also it created tens of thousands, creeping up on 100,000 of new energy-related jobs in an economy that may just save the European continent. I've owned stocks all my life, and I've only sold 2. I sold Duke Power at a loss after 20 years when it became clear that nuclear and coal were the plan for its future. I look forward to buying the stock again when the announcement is made to eliminate nuclear and go full on into wind, conservation and smart grid technology. Thank you very much.

James E. Rogers

Thank you for that eloquent statement.

Unknown Attendee

Thank you for the opportunity.

James E. Rogers

And when you move to Germany, you'll find that your rates are about 4x greater than they are here in North Carolina.

Unknown Attendee

Well when you factor in the health costs. My daughter has asthma. She's been hospitalized. You have a humongous megaphone as it is.

James E. Rogers

Okay, let's -- what I'd like for each of you all to do, and you've been here many times, I'd like for you to state your name and ask me a question and try to do it, if you would, within 2 minutes.

Unknown Attendee

My name is Scott Grudell [ph] from Fort Mill, South Carolina. And I'm on the Direct Reinvestment Plan, which I have enjoyed since October of 2008. I got in at the right time. I would like -- if you would look at this and add 2 elements to the statement, one, regarding the cost basis and the other cost basis per share. That would save me a lot of time because every month I have to figure it out.

James E. Rogers

Okay. I'll be delighted to have someone do that. I don't know if you can trust me to do that.

Unknown Attendee

Sarah Bankee [ph], and I've lived in the Mountain Island Lake community for 12 years...

Unknown Attendee

This guy is screaming about Duke, like you got to get off nuclear, you got to move to wind.

Unknown Attendee

I was 37 years old. My daughter, who's standing behind me and you'll hear from in a minute, was in kindergarten and my son was still in preschool. As you can imagine, the words "you have cancer" are not ones the mother of young children wants or expects to hear. A few months earlier, when my daughter, Anna, had started kindergarten, I cried my eyes out mourning her growing up too fast. Now I wondered if I would see her grow up. I wondered if I'd even see her finish kindergarten. Life at that point became a seemingly endless series of doctor's appointments, CT scans, PET scans, biopsies and surgeries, even after I finally began chemotherapy, underwent additional pulmonary function tests and scans of my heart. In cancer treatment, there is a fine line between the medicines that's strong enough to kill the cancer, but not so strong it kills you. Thankfully, I'm here, 5 years later, alive and well. And now I wonder more and more, how did this all happen? What caused me to get sick? The doctors can't tell me for sure but environmental issues are always suspect. From my living room window, I can see the smoke stacks of Riverbend Steam Station. My house is 1.5 miles from the pile of coal and the 2 massive unlined coal ash ponds. The school my children attends has purchased land less than 0.5 miles from these 2 coal ash ponds. Since I've learned of these plans, I've asked my oncologist and my children's pediatrician their opinions on the school location. I wanted to see if either of them could make me feel better about it. My oncologist said he finds it disheartening how schools often seem to be put in the worst places because of cheap land. Strike one for feeling better. A cloud of worry came over my pediatrician's face when I asked her, "That's where they're putting the school," she said. "I bet we're going to see a lot of respiratory issues, a lot of respiratory issues." Strike 2. I recently had the opportunity to meet the renowned biologist Dr. Sandra Steingraber. I asked her if she will let her kids go to a school that close to a coal-fired plant and coal ash ponds. "I wouldn't do it," she said. "I wouldn't do it." Strike 3. Someone recently showed an aerial photo of the coal ash ponds and the ring of dry ash around the edges. I'm sure that I don't have to remind any of you what is in coal ash: arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and selenium. These and other toxicants in coal ash can cause cancer and neurological damage in humans if inhaled or ingested. Children are at particular risk because of their growing and developing bodies and because pound for pound, they eat and breathe more than we adults do. A school doesn't get built overnight. My children will be going to school on a construction site for years. How do I know that coal ash will not be getting stirred up during construction or blowing through the breeze from the coal ash ponds next door? Can you tell me what 3 doctors couldn't? Can you tell me with 100% certainty that my children will be safe going to school near Riverbend Steam Station? Can you tell me with 100% certainty that Riverbend Steam Station did not -- will not make my children sick? Can you tell me that living near it won't make me sick or hasn't already made me sick? And if not, why is it still there? First, we thought the plant was going to close in 2015. And now we're hearing it maybe as late as 2020. Can you please tell me exactly when it is going to close?

James E. Rogers

Thank you. That's a very -- that's a wonderful story -- no, it's wonderful because you're here today. No, I understand, been there, understand that. But let me assure you, I can't guarantee you a 100% certainty but I do know the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States has reviewed this, and they found no problem. And that our plants are in compliance with all regulatory requirements, which means that they're not creating any harm downwind. And if they were, I'm sure the EPA would regulate them in any way as they have in the past.

Unknown Attendee

It was my understanding that EPA does not regulate coal ash.

A. R. Mullinax

That's correct, because they found there is no need to regulate coal ash. But it is now under consideration, more to come on that.

Let me hear from your daughter, if I may. Can you get that? Now let's get this where you can do. There you go.

Unknown Attendee

Hello, my name is Anna Bankee [ph]. I live in Mountain Island Lake, and I'm a fifth grader at Mountain Island Charter School. At my school, we are in mobile units, but we will soon be permanently located next to the Riverbend coal-fired plant. That's a big problem. You rarely use the plant, but you still put out hazardous fumes and let water from the coal ash into our lake. I like to swim in what I thought was clean lake water. Guess not. Now I know that I've been swimming in a coal dump. Not only is Mountain Island Lake for family fun and boat rides, it's also a source for Charlotte's drinking water. I don't want to drink ashes from coal. That's gross. It's a lot easier to shut down the plant than to contaminate our drinking water and have the risk of health issues. I go to bed every night scared that I could get cancer from that plant. My mom is a cancer survivor, and I saw what she had to go through. I don’t want to go through that also. First, we thought that the plant was going to close down in 2015. Now we're hearing 2020. Can you please tell me when we are going -- when you are going to close down the plant and clean up the coal ash? Thank you.

James E. Rogers

Thank you very much for your question, and I'm glad you're here today. But I will assure you that when we operate our coal plants, we operate them in the cleanest way possible. And I believe that lake is safe, and I believe the air is safe. And I think you'll be fine.

Yes, sir?

Unknown Attendee

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, as a point of reference, I believe you've served as Chairman and CEO. And in the interest of hearing from an independent director, I would like to direct my questions to the Lead Director. Would she be able to answer my questions?

James E. Rogers

She would be able to but in the interest of -- we have a long line of people here that want to talk. So if you would please, I will answer questions on behalf of the board. So if you could quickly ask your question so I can answer them.

Unknown Attendee

Okay. You're on record for affordable, reliable and clean. And at the same time, you find it necessary to file for a rate this past year of 16.9%. Is that correct??

James E. Rogers

That's correct, but we settled for 7.5%.

Unknown Attendee

Wanting 10% -- 11.9% return on equity. Is that correct?

James E. Rogers

We negotiated a 10.5% return on equity. Now you only have one more question left.

Unknown Attendee

Why is that?

James E. Rogers

Because we have a limited amount of time. We have a lot of people here, and I'm just asking you to be respectful of others and ask just one more question.

Unknown Attendee

Okay. I would ask you, at a time when we are in one of the worst recessions in our history and our ratepayers are being asked to increase their payout at a time when Duke Power wants 11.9% return, and the Attorney General has filed a lawsuit. Are you acquainted with Mr. Warren Buffett?

James E. Rogers

I can't say he's a personal friend. I'd like to be able to say that. Well, I would like to -- I actually like to be his son but that's a different story.

Unknown Attendee

Well, I would like to remind you that he spends hours answering questions. And this is the only time that a shareholder can come and have an opportunity to discuss it. So in the interest of the seriousness of this period in our history, which I think we can all agree, we have seen something that we have never seen before. But what I want to talk to you about, and I want to direct this to the directors and I want to direct it to the independent directors, your corporate governance has a lot of similarities to Bank of America and Wachovia. And I spoke at those meetings a number of times, and it's in this respect: high risk, taking undue risk without accountability and disclosure. And you also have a corporate governance that allows the Chairman to be the CEO. This is bad policy. It is not the best interest of we, the shareholders. And the other thing is you have continued to authorize extreme compensation, $7 million last year, $10 million this year or $11 million, $15 million next year. And the other thing, you do it in a way that your CEO receives stock, so he pays less taxes on his income than the average person sitting here. I'm paying the maximum on earned income. But on dividends, they're taxed at 15%, and I want to tell you today.

James E. Rogers

What's your question, sir?

Unknown Attendee

My question is, that Duke Power and you, the leadership, are not paying your fair share of taxes, and you are operating in a business. In my judgment, now this is my opinion...

James E. Rogers

Your question?

Unknown Attendee

That you -- the question is, that you are destabilizing our society and our community, and you are headed in the direction of Wachovia and Bank of America. And how, at a time in our history, can you take out millions and millions of dollars and many people cannot afford to pay their light bill?

James E. Rogers

Thank you for your comment. I never heard a question, so thank you for being here.

Unknown Attendee

My question is how can you take out millions of dollars, while the many homeowners are having difficulty paying their light bill?

James E. Rogers

I'll answer that. And please take your seat, so someone else could come up here. But the answer to your question is simply this, I get paid in stock. I get no cash. And on the stock that I get paid, I pay the ordinary income tax rate. I do not pay the 15%. It's only when I get dividends that I pay it. That's point one. Point two, we have a 7.5% rate increase. And if you hear these people talk about cleaning enough the environment, reducing the emissions from our plant, using more efficient plants, that's what that investment was about, but there's a cost. There is cost to cleaner energy. This country has had the good fortune of having low-cost energy, and we provided universal access. And we now are cleaning that up, and it is not for free. And when the man talked about Germany a moment ago, they pay 4x more than what you pay. And they have a policy that will prove to be a failure because they will import their nuclear from France and the Czech Republic. So thank you very much.

Unknown Attendee

Isn't that good because -- let me make one more point.

James E. Rogers

No, no please sit down.

Unknown Attendee

May I make one more point? If they have to pay 4x as much, but if this young woman can grow up and lead a healthy life -- and I agree with you, it costs money to clean up our environment.

James E. Rogers

But why are you complaining about the rates?

Unknown Attendee

Because you're taking out millions of dollars and you've lost the proportionality between the front running...

James E. Rogers

Thank you for being here. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Unknown Attendee

Well, thank you. I would hope that you would move forward on the last..

James E. Rogers

Yes, ma'am. State your name, state your question and quickly.

Unknown Attendee

Jim, I'm Debbie Anniston [ph]. I live in Wadesboro, Anson County. I have -- as the coal winds blow, I have grandchildren, and they are affected by it, and this is why I'm here today. I have one thing, I want to bring some information to you and to the new -- the board members. And then I have a very, very, very urgent and very special request at the end, and I want to know if you can help me. All right, I'm serious. I was still like crying over there before. I have a very different message this year after speaking with other shareholders. I did speak to some on the phone, by email, and they have -- some of them has very different ideologies than mine. Different politics, different everything. But we completely agree, Duke should not be squandering shareholder money on politics, lobbyists and media to sell the public more Fukushima-style nuclear or dirty coal and gas factories that cause our precious grandchildren asthma. Since Wall Street thinks nukes are too risky to finance, coal has never come clean, spending shareholders funds without our approval to buy political support to force taxpayers and ratepayers to fund the consequences is risky business. Duke should be investing aggressively in distributed renewable energy, like solar, wind and geothermal, while it works out a Google-type smart grid and energy storage model that is profitable, sustainable and clean no matter how fickle politics, fuel prices and public policies go. You can't pay those guys. They won't come around anyway. I was glad to learn Duke is doing a little better. Charlotte went from 10th worst ozone to 18th worst. Unfortunately, these half-measures have not saved my second grandson from developing asthma, living east of Charlotte as the coal winds blow. I am furious at the thought of ratepayers like myself and the parents of my sick grandchildren being forced to pay in advance to build more fossil fuels and nuclear factories. I am furious that residents and small businesses will pay 2/3 more to subsidize huge commercial businesses like Google, Yahoo! and Apple. I am furious that the air my grandchildren and the rest of us are forced to breathe will be polluted to produce dirty energy to sell cheaply out-of-state. I feel like we're on the Titanic, and the captain, Jim Rogers; and crew, board members and other executives; are so far unwilling to look just ahead at the climate and environmental disasters we are racing towards. With others, I have tried, and you know I have, Jim. I've been here every year since 2007, but I've only gotten greenwashing and half-measures, which are going to avail us nothing once we hit the iceberg. Energy corporations and municipally owned utilities in Europe and cities in the United States, like Gainesville, and you well know it, and Canada, Ontario, have demonstrated their grids -- have democratized their grids with distributed rooftop solar. Duke Energy could make more money in a third industrial revolution based on smart grid energy storage and connection, not sales of ever more finite resources that harm customers and depend on huge cash flows to politicians, lobby groups and the media. It sounds like risky business to me. And here's my request. Jim, I love you. I do love you, but please stop collecting visionary awards and just look ahead. Board members, please help him turn this earth ship around before it is too late. And I have individual copies of this for each board member. And I have looked up your backgrounds, and I have addressed that. And I would like to hand these to -- here's your copy, Jim.

James E. Rogers

Thank you.

Unknown Attendee

I like to hand those -- have those handed to the board members, please.

James E. Rogers

I'll do that. Thank you so much.

Next? And then I'll go over there.

Nancy Ellett Allison

Hi, I'm Nancy Ellett Allison. I'm pastor of Holy Covenant United Church of Christ here in Charlotte. And I want to thank you publicly, first and foremost, for taking the justice stand on Amendment 1, saying that it is inappropriate amendment for business. And I also want to call you to a greater justice, and that is the justice of being a steward of all creation. Our world's difficulties since 2008 demonstrate the ways our self-serving greed, all of ours in this room, has caused us to lose our moral center. Duke's amazing profitability in these last 5 years reminds me of the scripture passage that says, "To whom much has been given, of them, much is expected." Every system, Duke Energy, the church, my church, every system is inherently evil. It serves itself alone. But within every system are individuals who can act as moral agents to redeem the work of that system. So what I would like you -- to call you to today and to ask you is, can you expand your understanding of your role as a steward of God's creation, truly focused on renewable energy rather than as someone who simply serves the coal consuming system? Can you serve not just the shareholders in this room and the billion shareholders beyond or even your consumers, but can you serve the common good of a world in the throes of climate change caused by our ongoing fossil fuel consumption? Can you be that moral agent to make a difference?

James E. Rogers

I'm doing my best. I think the film demonstrates the commitment that we have made to win. I think that here in North Carolina where a lot of our power comes from hydro, which is clean, 50% of our power comes from nuclear that has zero greenhouse emissions.

Unknown Attendee

But it has a terrible consequences otherwise.

James E. Rogers

I understand, but we're managing that in a safe way. The most important point that I can leave with you and I thank you for being here, the most important is electricity is key to prosperity of our economy, and every way you generate electricity has pluses and minuses. There's good parts of coal and there's a lot of bad parts. Same with nuclear, same with hydro there are a lot of people that don't want to see dams built. Same is true of wind and solar. The opposition to wind and solar is great, and so my job is to serve the customers, to serve the investors and to serve all these stakeholders in a fair way, and so thank you for your call to action. I take that -- I'll take it as a mission.

Unknown Attendee

And remember, your first duty is to the earth.

James E. Rogers

Yes, ma'am?

Unknown Attendee

Hello, Mr. Rogers, Board of Directors, shareholders. My name is Natalie Simmons Jorge, I have been a Charlotte resident for almost 10 years. I studied Mathematics and Economics at the University of Virginia and received my MBA from Chapel Hill. I'm an entrepreneur and the mother of 2 children ages 10 and 8. Sometimes before I go to bed at night I write reminders to myself and leave them by my bathroom sink. For as long as I can remember, my early-to-rise physician husband has humored himself by sneakily adding his own agenda items to my to-do list. One that makes a recurring appearance is for me to make $100 million. To my husband's dismay, I have not yet checked that accomplishment off. Duke Energy...

James E. Rogers

I get that request also.

Unknown Attendee

Duke Energy, on the other hand, generates $100 million in revenue every few days, not only do customers and shareholders depend upon Duke Energy for reliable power and positive rates of return, but our entire region also views Duke Energy as the engine for future economic growth. The stakes are high, multi-billions of dollars high, which leads to my question about nuclear power. I tried to Google how much it cost to build a nuclear power plant and I couldn't come up with a straight answer $10 billion, $20 billion, $30 billion. The numbers are huge, many variables affect the ultimate cost projections and small variations in future fuel and operating costs can have an exponential impact. The lengthy 10-year plus construction time line adds additional risks. 10 years and possibly more to build a nuclear power plant seems like a risky bet when we think about how much technology can evolve in that same time frame. A little over 10 years ago in October of 2001, while we were still reeling from September 11, and I was learning how to care for a newborn, a new device was introduced, the iPod. A little over 10 years ago, the first iPod weighed 6.4 ounces, was 4 inches high by 2.4 inches wide, had a black-and-white display and cost $400 for 5 gigabytes of storage capacity. 10 years later, the iPod Nano weighs less than an ounce, is 1.5 square inches, has a multi-touch color display, provides 8 gigabytes of storage capacity and cost $129. 10 years later, we also have the iTouch, the iPhone and the iPad. So my questions are these. If Duke Energy ties up the majority of our investment capital for the next 10 years building huge nuclear power plants while the rest of the world continues to develop sleeker, smaller and more mobile energy solutions to manage the production, distribution and utilization of energy, what is the opportunity cost? Where will our community be in 10 years if nuclear power turns out to be more like a cassette player than an iPod? And wouldn't it be great if a Premiere North Carolina company like Duke Energy instead became a world leader in alternative energy development and efficiency measures?

James E. Rogers

Thank you that was a very good question and I would just quickly answer that by saying, you saw the film in the investment in wind, and we're investing in solar. We're investing in technologies that help customers reduce their use, and I think that's the great frontier. We're investing in a digital grid that'll allow us to reduce line loss, which makes our system more efficient, and we're looking at small modular reactors instead of large. We're looking at different distributed generation sources, which all could be the iPods of the future for our industry. So at the same time, we are making sure the light -- when you throw the switch at home, your lights come on. We're looking at ways of transitioning the system to cleaner system. But in the recognition that in that transition, it obviously will cost more, and so we're trying to get the balance right between affordable, reliable and clean. That's our mission. Thank you very much. And if you would please, we're kind of running out of time, just ask, state your name please.

Unknown Attendee

I have a question, yes, I'm not going to have a story.

Unknown Attendee

Stop interrupting and let people talk [indiscernible]

Unknown Attendee

My name is Lydia Drummond Leyendecker [ph] and I just have a few questions here. Just because you believe the rivers and water is safe doesn't make it so. I'm sorry, I cannot take your word for it and with the statements you've made here today, you've lost a lot of credibility in my eyes. I want to know whose pockets you're in, in the EPA because obviously, there's a problem that you and EPA are turning a blind eye too and I want to know why. What steps are you taking to properly dispose of coal ash instead of in our drinking waters? I don't mind paying more for electricity as long as it's clean and safe, and it's safe for everyone, for us and for our future generations. Also I want to know if you're going to be passing out free potassium iodine for all of us here, your precious customers and shareholders. I have hypothyroidism, and so does my dog. It's kind of a coincidence. We both drink the same water. What also -- what are you doing to prevent Fukushima from happening to us. Building another nuclear power plant doesn't sound like you're taking it seriously.

James E. Rogers

We are taking the operation of our nuclear plants very seriously and we -- they've operated over 40 years with no fatalities. We've operated them in a really safe way. We've also operated all our units consistent with the laws and I can't speak to what the drinking water is. I'm not in that business, but I will tell you that with respect to the emissions from our plants, we're -- our emissions are consistent with EPA regulations. Yes, ma'am?

Unknown Attendee

I'm Gail Touch, and I've been here a couple of times before. I'm a long-time shareholder starting with my family having shares in Cincinnati Gas & Electric. And I'm also a lawyer, I've got a Masters in Environmental Science from the 80s. And I'm now the board chair of the Yadkin Riverkeeper up in Forsyth County with the Yadkin River. I'm not here on their behalf. I'm here as a shareholder and I really care about my investment, and I'm also a ratepayer. I care about how much I pay for electricity. Several years ago, when I was here, I made a lot of points about coal and quite frankly, I know that you're moving -- we are moving towards trying to get rid of the coal power plants. It's not fast enough. It probably will never be fast enough until they're all gone. But my concern is that just like it's slower than what you had told me it would be about 5 years ago on the timescale, same with the nuclear power plants. So here we're building or want to get a license and construction permit and construct the Lee Nuclear power station. How much longer is that going to take because it always takes more time than what we anticipate. It always cost more than we anticipate and those statements that have been made before me are accurate. The overruns are extraordinary. The Fukushima accident did happen. Three-mile Island happened, Chernobyl happened. Nobody expected that to happen. Fukushima was extraordinary. That can happen here. The weather patterns that are taking place now, today is supposed to be 90 degrees and it's May 3. When I was studying environmental science back in the 80s, global warming was 50 -- 50 years it's 25, and it's where they probably thought it would be back then now, I mean. So I've got more comments than I really need to make.

James E. Rogers

How about a question?

Unknown Attendee

My question is, can I sit down with you and any of the board members and discuss these issues? Can we schedule a time to do that because the environmental issues and I just need to make a couple of comments because you said that...

James E. Rogers

Ask me a question.

Unknown Attendee

Greenhouse gases -- there's no greenhouse gases from running nuclear power. The processing of uranium has very intense greenhouse gases. Then the pollution, I mean, we're forgetting or you're leaving out that all that pollution and where the waste is going. Since I was here last time, 2 things have happened that are different that I'll state. One is Fukushima, which I already mentioned. The other is the closing or the termination of the Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste repository. So now we've got a whole other issue of where those wastes are going to go and last time I was here, you were very upset that the Federal government took our money to be able to use it towards the construction of the high-level radioactive waste repository. But now, we're stuck with the waste and we don't have that money. So my question really is, although there's a whole lot of other things I wanted to say. I'd really like to be able to schedule a time to sit down with the you and any of the board of directors that would like to join us. And if I can do that.

James E. Rogers

I'd be delighted to find the time to sit down with you and talk to you about this in detail.

Unknown Attendee

Will you find the time?

James E. Rogers

I will find the time.

Unknown Attendee

Okay.

James E. Rogers

Thank you. Yes, sir?

Unknown Attendee

Good morning, Mr. Rogers.

James E. Rogers

And you're name?

Unknown Attendee

My name is Gus Presley, I live in Clemens. I also have a property in Mooresville. So I'm a shareholder and a ratepayer. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Europe and I saw something astonishing there. I saw wind turbines much like yours, except off coast and a number of countries. Being an engineer, I thought I'd do a little bit of studying and want to tell you what I'd found and then I want to ask you what is in the future for Duke Energy with the offshore wind. This is really an astonishing story, and I'll be brief. First of all, offshore wind turbines have been generating power in Europe for 30 years, a proven technology. Prices have plummeted. At the end of 2011, there are 1,371 turbines at 53 farms in 10 countries generating 3.8 gigawatts of power. And there's 10x that much in planning, under construction or on the drawing boards. China already has 233 megawatts of offshore wind installed and plans almost 5,000 megawatts by 2020. Jobs of course, many jobs. But I know that's not a shareholder's -- it's not our major concern. And by comparison, I did a lot of research, I found your sheet indicating you have 1,776 megawatts. That's an interesting number, isn't it, the birth of our nation. And that's a great start, but it's all onshore and it's all out west. Let's bring it home. North Carolina, the research says and the universities have been studying this, has the best, underline, the best most reliable strongest wind on the East Coast of the United States, and it's a great power source. It can meet most of our energy needs over the next decades. New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland are all marching ahead. North Carolina, as far as I can see, has no firm plans. We heard about coal, we've heard about nuclear. Offshore wind should be in our portfolio, I believe. The U.S. is generating 10% of its power from renewables, North Carolina less than 2%. My question, what is so unique about North Carolina and Duke energy that we have no serious plans to mine this clean, reliable and ever more affordable form of energy? Isn't our company in danger of failing to meet power demand as our nuclear plants are delayed. Failing to deal with climate change and health issues and failing to invest sufficiently in alternative energy in order to meet our power demands and for industry and jobs? And just like other forms of technology, it is more expensive now. I know that. It's dramatically more expensive. But based on your latest rate applications, cost of all -- of our forms of energy now continues to go up and all the charts show that the cost of offshore wind continues to come down and those charts have gone [ph] across in my lifetime and yours and probably within the next 5 to 10 years and it doesn't -- you don't get there overnight. So I ask you, what are your plans? What are Duke Energy's plans to not -- I won't to say slow this project down, but you did initiate and then canceled a pilot program a few years ago. What are you going to do aggressively, as aggressively and more aggressively than nuclear to go after this clean reliable and more affordable in the long run form of energy?

James E. Rogers

That's a good set of questions, and I'm going to walk over here as I answer it. So I can start down the other line. Here's the way to think about it. We operate on all of the above. We're reluctant to pick any one source and go with it. Not all wind, not all solar, not all nuclear, not all coal, not all gas. It's a balance because we don't know what the technological developments are going to be with any of those. That's an important point. But with respect to the wind, sir, when you look at wind maps, there is no wind as you -- some of you all heard me say before in North Carolina, now you can get it on the ridge lines, but I don't think an environmental group will allow us to do that. We could build it around the Statehouse, there's a lot of wind there, okay. Or we could build it offshore. But if we build it offshore and we looked at a project like that, the costs were prohibitive and the Army Corps of Engineers made it impossible for us to build a transmission line to the offshore wind. So more work to do on that. We have not given up and this film today should give you a sense, we wouldn't have shown it if it didn't demonstrate our commitment to wind. So thank you very much. Yes, sir.

Unknown Attendee

Yes, my name is Jim Center and first, I'd like to thank you, and the board for being here and taking the time to listen to us. I know these are some hard, hard comments to listen to. I am President of Potluck Power company, which is a small solar generating company. We sell our electricity to through Piedmont EMC, and so I'm part of the distributed renewable generation system that was mentioned before. And we've heard about risk, the risk of coal, the environmental risk, the health risk, but I'd like to talk about another risk, and that is the risk of terrorism. It was said after -- 9-11 changed everything, but that's not true. One of the things that hasn't changed is our dependence on large, centralized power plants that are extremely vulnerable to people who would wish to do us harm. One transmission tower goes down and through a cascade of failures, an entire region can black out. I'm sure you're aware of this and there are alternatives. John Blackburn, former chair of the Duke Economics Department, former Chancellor of the University has demonstrated how, with a combination of wind and solar, we could meet our needs. We don't have to build these big centralized power plants with fat targets painted on their sides. So I would -- and while I'm glad to see that Duke Power is doing -- is developing these means, I would encourage you to do more and be as aggressive with the lobbying to get on the Corps of Engineers butt to see it happen. So that's my comment, and I have 2 questions. I mean are you, as CEO of an operator of a nuclear power plant, are you really not aware that the enrichment of uranium is one of, if not the most energy intensive industrial processes known to humankind? I think the only smelting aluminum uses as much power, and so this claim that nuclear energy is carbon-free is inaccurate. Well, it is inaccurate and I would hope that you would be aware of that. And my one question is, if coal ash is so safe, when are your grandkids going to be going to school at a school next to a coal ash pond, if it's that safe?

James E. Rogers

Thank you for your questions and 2 answers. One, neither my children or my grandchildren, unfortunately, live in North Carolina. And the second is, I would be comfortable with them living in that same situation mainly because, based on the studies I've seen, I'm not concerned. And I know the EPA is looking at it, and I have confidence in our government to do the right thing on environmental issues. And with respect to uranium enrichment, you're right. But the actual production of electricity, they're 0. But here's another important point, even though solar panels that you saw, I mean the wind turbines, the actual manufacture of those wind turbines generate a lot of CO2. So all I'm saying is, there is no perfect answer in the generation of electricity, I wish there was. I wish I could snap my fingers and tomorrow morning produce electricity in every home without any environmental footprint. But that is not for today, maybe not tomorrow. It's going to take many years before that happens. So thank you very much for being in the solar business. I actually think solar will trump wind in the long term because of its distributed nature. So you've got -- you're on the right mission.

Unknown Attendee

My name is Todd Zimmer, begin by asking everybody to just take a deep breath, get calmed down. I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. I'm a life long Charlottean and I want to give a little bit of background about myself. Because I'm not unique and then ask my question. It will be up in 2 minutes. So yes, I grew up here and I can tell you that 1 in 4 children in my generation and 1 in 4 children today, 24 years later, are going to grow up to have respiratory disease and asthma because our air quality is so poor in Charlotte. These are ailments that they're going to live with their entire life. They're going to pay for these ailments every single day for the rest of their life. I remember when I was on the playground in first grade being jealous of other children who had asthma inhalers on the playground because they were so common that I thought it's a toy or something like that. My playmates across the street had to hook themselves up to electric nebulizers twice a day so they could breathe. My younger sister developed asthma while living in Charlotte. I remember taking a walk around our block one summer and having her collapse to the ground and struggle to breathe and even face death because she didn't have her inhaler. My mother is a pediatrician in Charlotte, maybe she's cared for some of your children who may have asthma as well. She's developed asthma from living here. So my story is not unique. There are many, many children in our community and communities across the country who have similar experiences because of pollution from coal plants. Additionally, this generation is looking at a future where we may see a 9-degree increase in global average temperature. There's a whole generation growing up right now who are having their health and their future mortgaged by continuing reliance on dirty energy. So I know this is a risky business model for us, for your customers and for every person in this room who's breathing air. We know it's risky because there's a full month out every year where we risk permanent lung damage by walking the dog. If you look at the Mecklenburg County air quality website, there's a heading that says afternoons are unhealthy, and that's truly extreme. And so what I want to ask you is about making a commitment to change. In your business plan for North Carolina it shows a 3% energy generation from renewable energy over the next 18 years. That's business as usual. That is a whole another lifetime from birth to adulthood where we're going to be subjecting children to air pollution to the risks of nuclear energy, which are severe and we can look to current events to know this. The business plan we have for this state right now is risky for Duke because the days of denial and confusion about who's responsible for these pollutions are over. The children who are growing up now are not going to sit idly by. We know, Mr. Rogers, that Duke Energy spends money to prevent necessary and reasonable environmental protections for coal ash, which is making the woman who spoke earlier sick and many, many others. You're spending money at the statehouse level and at the federal level to prevent protection from the pollutions that we're paying for. And this generation's going to make sure that Duke is held responsible for those malpractices. So I think I could ask a lot of things from you for change. What I'm asking right now is, shareholders please don't let Duke Energy sink massive amounts of capital into new coal plants and nuclear plants over the next 20 years. It will not pay off. It will be a huge liability and you'll have to sell your Duke's share at a loss, massive loss. Please don't do that for the sake of people and for your own self-interest. Mr. Rogers, you know that there is more offshore wind potential in North Carolina than any other state on the East Coast. Will you please make a commitment to increase the amount of energy generation in North Carolina that comes from renewable energy and walk us back from the edge of climate change and the edge of nuclear waste that will persist not just for our grandchildren, but for our grandchildren's grandchildren, our grandchildren's grandchildren. You're making decisions that are getting impact the entire human race's future and the children of every living species on planet earth. Can you make a stronger commitment to developing renewable energy and walk us back from dirty energy, please?

James E. Rogers

We are doing our best to develop renewables, there's evidence of it today. We have gone from no investment to the fifth largest in the United States. But this is a long cycle business. And again, you can't snap your fingers and do it overnight. If I could, I mean one way to do this is to ask everybody to turn off their lights, turn off their TVs, turn off your computers, don't use electricity. But that's not going to happen. That would ruin our economy. We've got to make the transition. I am with you on this. We will make the transition. But we've got to do it in a thoughtful, reasonable way and not in a way that drives cost up and trust me, here in Charlotte, the afternoon problem, that's tied to the use of cars. Maybe you ought to be riding a bike and not driving a car, and so it's not just our power plants, it's really the cars that create the smog and the pollution. And the only other point I'd make because I have asthma, but it's allergy-induced asthma and in this time of the year it's always worse than any other time of the year. So thank you very much. Now we only have 10 minutes left, and so I'm going to ask everybody to just give me your name, ask me your question, and I'll do my best to answer it.

Unknown Attendee

My name Tommy George. I'm an entrepreneur in Charlotte, grew up in Charlotte, 20 years in business here. My concern is, this is a headline from the Charlotte Observer on December 15. I'm not sure if you remember the article. It goes as such, that just the first paragraph "The developer of the largest wind farm ever proposed in North Carolina says the project has stalled because no utility wants to buy the power of the project it would produced." That's a concern because it speaks to, maybe because it wasn't Duke's project that it didn't want to buy the power, but my concern is, the companies like Facebook, Google, the big Apple, the big centers that come here, they are offered this power at nearly nothing. I'm a small business person, I'm paying -- I couldn't tell you the rate but at a much higher rate than they're paying. I just think it's unfair. My business with the 20 employees I have, I know those data centers have generated jobs to begin -- the construction jobs. Once these projects are finished, there's not as many jobs as I have, as just a small businessman. I just think it's unfair that I pay more and our rates -- the homeowners, ratepayers pay more than these people pay where you're having to put more projects online because these data centers come, they use so much power, the water -- not to mention the water that they use, and I'm just concerned that people like myself, small businesses like myself need to be incentivized to be able to have cheaper power. I'm willing to pay more for my power. I'm paying a lot for my power, and I'm happy to pay more if it comes from renewables and one of the questions is that $4 North Carolina Green on the bill that I pay every month, where does that money go and how is that being spent? I've been paying that for years I would just want to know where that goes.

James E. Rogers

I understand your point on the economic development in bringing the server farms, but in that part of our state, that creates jobs and tax base that allow us to fund the schools. And there's always issues about how you allocate cost between different customer classes, including special rates to attract business to our state. I get that point. The other thing is, is I don't really know where that $4 goes. But if you tick it off, I think it probably goes to the -- where we say it does, but I'll check into that. Yes, ma'am?

Unknown Attendee

My name is Jacqueline McClure. I'm a member of Charlotte Greenpeace, and I'm here on behalf of thousands of North Carolinians who are concerned with Duke Energy's current business model. I'm a shareholder and I'm a ratepayer. We all know that coal is risky business. Think back to 2009 when you we're interviewed with 60 minutes, you took a helicopter ride. You were remembering when you're 41 years old the first time that you flew over a coal-fired power plant and you said, oh my gosh, I'm responsible for this. Well, I'm here to remind you that you are responsible for that. You and Duke Energy are responsible for destroying the mountains of Appalachia. You and Duke Energy are responsible for polluting our air. You and Duke Energy are responsible for poisoning our water. So I'm here today to present you with over 8,000 petitions that people across the state of North Carolina have signed. Here with people who face the ravages of mountaintop removal. I'm here with people living near Riverbend coal plant who are concerned about the coal ash ponds on Mountain Island Lake, and I'm here with a group of children who were standing outside who have asthma because of the coal plants. We're all here and we all know what Duke Energy is doing. I'm here to tell you Mr. Rogers that we're not going to stand by and allow you to continue to make profits at our expense. We're asking you to take full responsibility for the impacts of your risky business model. We will not pay for dirty energy. I'm sure you remember last October when thousands of people from across the state of North Carolina came together to protest the rate increase that you requested 20%, it was lowered to 7%, but that's not enough. We will not stop. We will continue to stand together. We will continue to attend public hearings. We will continue to contact our legislators, and we'll continue to rally in the streets to protest the rate increase that we know you're going to ask for by the end of this year. We're not going away. We want clean, renewable energy for our community and for our country. We want drastic energy efficiency. We want you to stop destroying the mountains that we love, stop polluting the air that we breathe, stop poisoning our drinking water and stop raising the rates to pay for electricity that hurts us. Last week, Cincinnati, Ohio dropped Duke's dirty energy and replaced it with FirstEnergy Solutions that will provide 100% renewable energy for the people of Cincinnati. That cost our company about $100 million. So I'm asking you, are you going to wait around for Charlotte to drop you? Or are you going to stand together with me and with the people of this community and invest in clean, renewable energy that's sourced from the state of North Carolina?

James E. Rogers

Is that your question?

Unknown Attendee

I'm asking you and the people of North Carolina are asking you, will you commit to not renew a single contract for mountaintop removal coal?

James E. Rogers

Can't do that. What we have done is put in place a policy to try to reduce our use of mountaintop mining. We've reviewed it with the state regulators because their concerned, not just with mountaintop mining, they're concerned about the price increase on consumers. But more work to do there, and we're committed to doing it, and so thank you. I look forward to your opposition to everything we do, and it's your right and I value it, but we're doing our very best to live up to our commitment of providing affordable, reliable and clean electricity. Thank you for being here.

Unknown Attendee

Two more questions, will you commit to provide us with at least 1/3 of our energy from renewable sources by 2020?

James E. Rogers

You know, I can't make that kind of commitment.

Unknown Attendee

You're the CEO, you're in charge, you can make that commitment.

James E. Rogers

I can, but I also have -- I'm regulated, and I have certain requirements there and I also very fundamentally and this is -- that will be your last question, is this, I have to balance affordability and clean and reliability, and so it's not so simple to do. If I could do what you ask me to do, I would do it. But I can't. I can't do it that fast and our country can't do it that fast, and I think that we ought to go study what's going on in Ontario hydro and what they have done or in Germany or in California and getting the balance right is really critical, and I'm sure with your advocacy, you will help us get it right.

Yes, sir.

Unknown Attendee

My name is Harry Philips, I live in Chapel Hill. And I will ask a question at the beginning and the end of my brief comments, and I'm very disappointed that we're having to rush through now, and you're sort of controlling the process, and it's very, very disrespectful to me and the other folks who want to speak and folks who studied and done the research and prepared statements. So this is the 1 opportunity of the year that we have to speak to you.

James E. Rogers

May be the right answer because everybody has got speeches, everybody has got a strong opinion, which I respect. Maybe the right answer is for me to schedule a public meeting and have all of you come and tell me exactly what you think, and I'll do my best to answer.

Unknown Attendee

That would be amazing.

James E. Rogers

No, no and I'll recorded it and I'll give a summary to the board. So they'll understand the issues that are on your mind.

Unknown Attendee

The power belongs to the board.

Unknown Attendee

But we pay for them.

Unknown Attendee

We look forward to your gesture and I appreciate it.

James E. Rogers

So if you could -- I mean again, I don't mean to rush you, I apologize for that, but we have to get back to our board meeting. We have issues to deal with. So if you just ask me a question, and I will set up, I will guarantee it, I will post it and everybody that's here that's talked. I'm trying to look and see who can...

Unknown Attendee

We'll go to the end of the line. It's okay.

James E. Rogers

No, no but we'll make a list, we'll hold a meeting and Bill Currens, the first guy I see. Okay, so you're the one, but everybody give your name to Bill.

Unknown Attendee

Well, there are only 8 of us left, so we can just finish off the last 8.

James E. Rogers

Okay, but commit to me you'll ask 1 question after telling your name please, and not comments, I'll do comments later.

Unknown Attendee

Harry Philips, Chapel Hill a long-time Duke Energy customer. My question to you sir is what is Duke Energy's strategic plan for conserving water at its nuclear and fossil plants, and I will read just 2 or 3 sentences from my prepared statement in the interest of time. Some brief context, the Dan River basin and the Catawba River Basin are among the nation's most stressed waterways because of Duke's massive withdrawals. As a concerned citizen, convenience and profit seem to trump safety in terms of Duke's water use. The science says that drought and higher-than-normal summer temperatures make water conservation essential. Energy plants like Duke's draw nearly 70% of all water used in our region and exacerbate the problem. A recent study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concludes that, if Duke continues to withdraw at its current rate from the Catawba Basin, in a few decades, the river will no longer be able to meet demand. From what I can tell, Duke Energy is environmentally unconscious. Duke needs to reconcile energy and water profit and sustainability, good citizenship and a 1% mentality. So I ask you again, what is Duke's strategic plan for conserving water?

James E. Rogers

Well, first 98% of the water that we take from the rivers, we put back into the rivers cleaner than we took it out. The other 2% is evaporated and eventually returns. So our use of water is regulated. At the state level, at the federal level and we're returning all the water we use back into the rivers.

Unknown Attendee

Science said we will face a crisis that you will not be able to meet water demand if you continue withdrawing it at the current rate.

James E. Rogers

Important point: 98% is returned, 2% is evaporated. And the reality is, water, you're correct, is going to be the oil of the 21st century in terms of being a major issue. We're sensitive to that and are working on those issues. Yes, ma'am.

Unknown Attendee

I'm J.D. Doliner and I'm here representing my mother, Dr. Doris Breckenridge, she's a physician in New Jersey and actually I want to start by congratulating you on helping to prove the commercial viability of renewables. I think that Duke has done a lot for that. Now, there's something to build from. And what I would like to see happen is for Duke to now take what is a small portion of its portfolio in renewables, use that great success and diversify. And I know that you have -- that the government could do a lot more for you if that R&D budget that they have for energy was a lot bigger on renewables and perhaps a little bit smaller in other places, so I wanted to ask you if you would be willing, and I had an eloquent speech to convince you to say yes, to my question but I'm trying to respect the time.

James E. Rogers

You know what, if you just asked me the question I might actually say yes.

Unknown Attendee

Would you be -- it's another meeting request. I would love to sit down with you and understand what you're doing to lobby the government for more funding of renewables to bring cost parity and to enable implementation to happen in a much faster level, I would love to help make that happen.

James E. Rogers

No, no that's great, and I will be delighted to sit down with you. And the important point is, the government is actually cutting off the funding of wind.

Unknown Attendee

It's very impolite.

James E. Rogers

Starting in '13 and we'll see the inability to economically build wind because we need the subsidy.

Unknown Attendee

I'm worried about it, yes.

James E. Rogers

But I will be delighted give Bill Currens -- we'll get a sheet of paper, let everybody put their name down, I am delighted to meet with you all and have a long conversation. And each of you has got statements, which I respect and we'll have to do it in that context, but thank you, and the answer is yes, I'll sit down with you.

Unknown Attendee

Thank you, I'd love to help.

Unknown Attendee

So in the interest of time, I will shorten what I was going to say. My name is Dr. Vaka I'm a committee organizer with Action NC, which is a community group made up of people from our community, working-class people who cannot afford another rate hike. The people came together a few months ago and we stopped the incredibly high rate hike. This happened through public hearings and we would like for this to continue. But as it has come to my attention recently, Duke Energy is lobbying to pass legislation that would not allow us to have any more public hearings in order for us, the people, to actually have a voice in this. Everyday people in our community, as I said I'm a community organizer, I actually talk to the people in our community unlike a lot of the executives. And people in the community are telling me every single day they cannot afford any more rate hikes, they could barely afford the 7-point something rate hike that happened a few months ago. Many North Carolinians are out of work. Many are -- the gas prices are going up, the price of food is going up, many are having to choose between paying the light bill or feeding their children. In 2010, Duke had a 23% increase in profit. You, Mr. Rogers, had a 25% raise bringing your salary up to $6.9 million. As I said, poor people cannot afford higher bills. Better options would be to freeze the pay -- to freeze the pay of the execs, starting with you, Mr. Rogers. So my question is this, in order to make it more affordable for the people of North Carolina who cannot afford to pay these high bills, would you be willing to take a freeze in your pay or cut your pay in order to subsidize all these plants that you want to build? Will the execs do the same thing, because I know we can't afford it. You're making 6 digits a year or more, while the rest of us are barely scraping by with just 2 digits, the low 2 -- below 7 digits. So will you make a commitment to actually freeze your pay as opposed to making us pay more?

James E. Rogers

Well, the simple answer is I get paid only when I perform. I don't get an automatic -- payment is not automatic, it's only when I deliver value to the customers, as well as the investors. And last year, the investors had a 30% total shareholder return. They had the value of this company increase $7 billion. So what I get paid in that context is rather small. Thank you though, and I used to be a consumer advocate just like you fighting rate increases and utilities, I get it. Next question, please.

Unknown Attendee

My name is Jenni Marino, I live here in Charlotte, and I'm here wearing a couple of hats, but I'll keep this short. So I'm here because I'm a shareholder, but I'm also here because I'm a young person on this planet. And so a lot of the things that I wanted to say I think have already been stated, but as a shareholder I'm very concerned about looking at our North Carolina IRP, which states that we'll be relying heavily on nuclear and natural gas and coal over the next 18 years. So I work for a group called 350.org that focuses on climate change as the biggest problem that we face as a planet. These 3 pieces are self [ph] solutions to climate change. We're often told that if we want to go away from coal, that we're going to have to rely either on natural gas or nuclear. Unfortunately, neither of those are safe solutions for our planet and for our people. And so I'm asking you to invest heavily in renewable energy. We need to be invested heavily in renewable energy yesterday if we're going to stop the worst effects of climate change. And so I guess my question is and I'm going to give you a little background on this, and this may be of interest to you, all the others in the room, but at this very moment there are activists with Greenpeace and with Mountain Justice who have blocked a train on its way Marshall Steam Station. They're preventing coal from reaching that Steam Station at this very moment. So my question is, how can you ensure that coal and natural gas and nuclear are not risky investments for your organization and for everyone who's involved with it, when there will be active protests and active resistance to the energy that's killing our planet.

James E. Rogers

I think the only thing I would say is that, if you block the generation of electricity from our coal plants, if you block the generation of electricity from our nuclear plants, you're going to block the flow of electricity to our schools and to our hospitals and to people across our state that rely on it. There's a more reasoned way to go about this. If that is your way of expressing your opinion, I value it. I respect it. But it isn't in the long term interest of our community and again, I hope you join with these others and meet with me later. So we can have a full vetting of all of this.

Unknown Attendee

And I do just want to point out that my generation is forced to take these actions to protect our future. If our energy did come from safe renewable energy, we wouldn't be forced to do these sort of things and you can expect more of it in the coming generation.

James E. Rogers

I'm ready. Yes, ma'am? Good to see you again.

Unknown Attendee

Thank you, and I do...

James E. Rogers

I'm surprised you're not out there.

Unknown Attendee

I'm everywhere I can be...

James E. Rogers

I know, everywhere I go, you're there.

Unknown Attendee

Yes, and I will keep coming Mr. Rogers, only because I care so much about my children and grandchildren.

James E. Rogers

I know, please just ask me.

Unknown Attendee

Well, you keep talking about affordable, but I'm sure you've seen the same studies that I have that say nuclear energy, the so-called Renaissance is not happening not because it's dangerous, but because it's not affordable. And I know you also know that the rate structure is being challenged because your biggest customers aren't going to be on the hook for the extravagant price of nuclear plants and small businesses like Mr. George and other people are coming together to try to make sure if you do build nuclear plants, they'll be paid for in a fair way and not just by residential and small businesses, the way the rate structure works now. My question is, you said at the beginning that you would need construction cost recovery assurance from the legislature to be able to build nuclear plants. I would like to know, because lots of folks are trying to find out, does Duke Energy intend to pursue in the short session of the legislature that's about to begin. that sort of cost recovery assurance legislation.

James E. Rogers

Well, I'm sure -- I can assure you in the short session -- they're going to be focused on a range of issues they need to be focused on like education, getting the balanced budget. In all likelihood, they will not be focused on this issue in this session.

Unknown Attendee

So was that a no? You're not going to try to get it in the short session?

James E. Rogers

If they offered it to me, I'd take it, but I'm not going to go get it, okay?

Unknown Attendee

Thank you for answering that.

James E. Rogers

Thank you.

Unknown Attendee

My name is Greg Paine [ph] and I'm representing ARP and our 100 and some members in the state. Let me first of all, say that we recently have met with some of your staff here, and it's a very fruitful and an engaging conversation and it was very positive in many ways. At the same time, though I return here on this past Monday and on the poverty tool, one of the things that came up like so many individuals like you just heard not being able to afford to pay utility bills. Then one of the things that they often were faced with was either paying for medicine or transportation or other issues when it came to those high-rising utility costs. My question to you and I'll be brief is that what -- why then is Duke Energy proposing automatic rate hikes? And how then that does benefit the customer, I heard you say that you're customer-driven, could you explain that to us?

James E. Rogers

Well, a couple of important points. Context, the real price of electricity today compared to 1960 is lower today than it was in 1960. So it's been flat to declining overall those years. Today, the price of electricity in North Carolina is 20% to 30% below the national average and I know nobody likes a rate increase. But we're investing billions of dollars in North Carolina to modernize our grid, to build modern generation fleet. So we can retire a high emitting coal plants and the consequence of these investments require us -- this is with our business model and the regulations in the state to get recovery of these billions of dollars of investment. So we don't like rate increases. But the reality is, to modernize our grid, to clean it up for all the people here that are concerned about clean energy, it's going to cost more. But the good news is, and maybe not comforting news, it is still cheaper here than the majority of America.

Yes, sir.

Unknown Attendee

My name is Greg Jocoy [ph] and I live in Simpsonville, South Carolina. I'm a Duke ratepayer and representing a shareholder and to get to my questions right away, do you realize that it makes me feel that you don't value shareholder input when you make us watch a film that could have been placed on YouTube and all of us told about it in advance and then told that we don't have enough time to have you hear our questions and then answer them. Do you know how that makes me feel?

James E. Rogers

I know how it makes you feel, and that's why...

Unknown Attendee

Do you know how it makes me feel when you tell us that the Board of Directors is going to have to go because you have important stuff to do.

James E. Rogers

I know how that makes you feel -- that is why, that is why...

Unknown Attendee

Thank you, sir, thank you, sir.

James E. Rogers

Thank you, sir.

Unknown Attendee

My Golton Desai [ph] and I'll extract some questions from here, but I'm here to also respect Dr. Richard Furman is a retired physician who was here to read a statement, but he had to go back all the way to Ashville because of an accident in the family, he's fine but -- so I'll just be very quick and just...

James E. Rogers

Maybe give the statement and ask me the question?

Unknown Attendee

Sure. So from -- based on this and from based on what I hear, I have questions about 3 things. One is the rate of change. It doesn't look like that you and the activist differ in the long-term goals, but the rate of change that you are making are feasible or you claim that it is feasible, is definitely a lot lower pace than what they think is possible right now in this world and it is cost-effective. So, who is to determine, that's one thing. The second thing is about the political power and the cloud. You are the cohost of the DNC. You are one of the largest corporations with the legislature and a lot of other politics in North Carolina and there is a lot more power within you if you can do the rate hikes, you can also do some of the other things from renewables to energy efficiency to a number of things and we feel that you are not doing enough on that account. And finally, you are constantly talking about affordability, but it looks like that the greater investment and riskier difficult investments like nuclear and gas frac-ing and so on, which even some of the banks would not finance and now there are protest coming up against Bank of America for financing coal and they will start rethinking this and this money is being reinvested to go in white corporations like Apple, Google and Facebook that you yourself sort of admitted that could be of dubious taxpayers incentives. So these are not used to fund the electricity requirements of the hospitals and schools and poor households, they are funded to do the electricity production and then in white subsidized corporations from outside. So the whole model is flawed. So the questions are about the rate of change, about the actual affordability and cost-effectiveness as -- to continue to be dependent on coal and nuclear. And third thing is using the political power even more judiciously and more proactively for change rather than trying to suit the current model of Duke Power, thank you.

James E. Rogers

Thank you. And please make sure I get a copy of that. The only thing I would say is, is that we are working hard to make the transition as fast as it makes sense. And so what we're balancing is, as we build new plants that are cleaner and we retire old plants, they are fully depreciated, that's going to translate into higher rates. So I'd rather do it in a smooth way. And you are right, it's not a question of where we're going, it's a question of how fast we get there. And we are on that road and we can debate about how fast, but we're trying to do it in a way that smooths out the cost impact on our consumers. Yes, sir.

Unknown Attendee

My name is David Pasic, I'm a shareholder and I live in Charlotte here and I'm a ratepayer. Mr. Rogers, whatever the board is paying you is not enough from what I've heard here today.

James E. Rogers

Thank you. Thank you.

Unknown Attendee

I've heard a lot of nonsense here today. I'm a retired medical doctor. I treated asthma for 26 years and let me tell you, the particulate matter put out by Duke energy is trivial compared to the asthma-causing effects of cigarette smoke and emissions from tailpipes. There's also a theory of course, that the epidemic of asthma is caused because of the urbanization of America. Because so many million Americans now no longer have exposure to farm animals like they did 100 years ago and of course, asthma is an immunologic problem, but my question is, I'd like to here your comments and bring us all up to-date about the proposed merger with Progress Energy? Why FERC is giving you a hard time about it, what's your approach is to this and what the future might hold for us? Thank you very much.

James E. Rogers

Thank you, sir for those comments. I think the important point is, is our plans are to close this merger by July 1 and this is the third time we have asked for an okay, to do this. The bottom line is they've really struggled with defining the issue of market power, and we're 2 companies that are contiguous, but we're regulated and for -- it's difficult for me to see what their issue is and they haven't been clear in terms of how to address their issue, but we're doing our best to close this transaction. Duke Power, yes, sir.

Unknown Attendee

Mr. Rogers, my name is Fred E. Council.[ph]

James E. Rogers

Yes, sir, I'm delighted to see you..

Unknown Attendee

I'm a shareowner and again, I suggest the name Duke Power. Fellow shareowners if you would consider keep the name the same or a change to Duke Power please would you convey to Mr. Manly, our Corporate Secretary, on the matter I think would beneficial our business, our primary business -- power, America's north, south, electric power, think power.

James E. Rogers

Thank you. You ask me every year, and I will tell you, as I travel around the country, the number of people that still refer to us as Duke Power is amazing. So I mean obviously, that's a name that works. Vlad [ph] how are you doing?

Unknown Attendee

I'm doing -- thank you, Jim. I was not actually going to speak, but I feel compelled to say a few things. My name is Vladimir Peret [ph] I'm a CEO of United Hydrogen. We are environmental firm. We exist to establish infrastructure both fueling stations to enable automotive hydrogen fueled vehicles to exist and lessen our dependence on foreign oil. So we're essentially environmental firm. However, I'm extremely surprised at so many negative comments regarding Duke Energy. I think Duke Energy is doing tremendous job in this transition process Jim is describing. I heard Europe quoted several times, I'm a European. I can tell you that the European policies are right now bankrupting Europe. I don't think you would want it here. One thing about renewable energy everybody forgets, I didn't hear it say at once. It's intermittent. It's not energy you can rely on. It has to have a backup power, every megawatt somebody installs has to have a backup power. Now if the people who have this attitude want electricity only when there is a sunshine, Duke Energy can provide it tomorrow. But you want electricity all the time, and that's where Duke Energy comes to the complex program of balancing the need for energy all the time so that we, industries, can grow and yet be responsible to the environment that I felt I had to say that because what I've heard here was so negative, totally surprised. Thank you very much.

James E. Rogers

Thank you. Yes, sir.

Unknown Attendee

My name is Walter Batista. [ph] I'm Cuban by birth, American by the grace of God and the statements that I hear coming out of the White House occupant right now remind me 2 much of what I heard in Q of 52, 53 and I do not appreciate you being the co-chair, if you will. That if you want to put your own personal fortune at the Board of Directors please feel free. Okay, but I don't appreciate you guaranteeing [ph] our $10 million or is it because what your employee Mr. Forest in Greensboro said that the only reason you gave the $10 million was because you want to be named I cannot say the Chairman of the Energy Commission for the present administration. Thank you, sir.

James E. Rogers

Thank you for trying to give me a -- getting me promoted into the government, but that isn't the purpose. No, I know that. But the important point is just to kind of complete and thank everybody that stayed with us today is that we made that investment for the City of Charlotte because the spotlight will be on our city and it will give us great recognition around the world. I want to thank everybody for being here today I want to thank everybody for the questions. I'm looking forward to the people that want to meet with me independently, of putting their names down, put their email address down, and I will host that meeting with you and listen to your concerns and address them. So again thank you all very much.

Operator

And this concludes today's conference. You may disconnect at this time.

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