News bites: Duke Energy CEO to exit in deal with regulators

Jim Rogers, the politically connected CEO of utility giant Duke Energy, will step down by the end of 2013 as part of a settlement with North Carolina regulators.

The settlement stems from a probe into Duke’s takeover of Progress Energy. Here’s The Associated Press:

The North Carolina Utilities Commission and Duke Energy said Thursday the deal concludes the regulator’s probe into whether the company misled the commission ahead of the merger approval. The commission had the power to reverse or alter its approval.

Hours after the merger was completed July 2, Duke Energy’s board ousted Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson, who was supposed to take over the combined company. It had promised to keep him in place throughout the 18-month process of merging the two Fortune 500 energy companies headquartered in North Carolina.

The Charlotte Observer has more here on what the paper calls an “extraordinary agreement to end regulators’ five-month investigation of Duke Energy’s star-crossed merger with Raleigh-based Progress Energy.”

Rogers has been a maverick of sorts in the power industry, breaking with many rivals by endorsing cap-and-trade legislation.

Rogers and his Charlotte-based company were key players in the Democratic National Convention held in the city over the summer. Rogers served as co-chair of the host committee and played a significant fundraising role.

In non-Duke news ...

Reuters looks at what it will take for BP to end its suspension from federal contracts.

Reuters also takes stock of nations’ pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions. A new study, the Climate Action Tracker report, says the efforts are off-track.

“Major emitters China, the United States, the European Union and Russia all got ‘inadequate’ ratings for their plans to help limit global warming to an agreed U.N. ceiling of below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial times,” the news service reports.

Bloomberg reports on Chevron’s legal troubles over pollution in the Amazon.