New group positions itself as watchdog over major electric company

New group positions itself as watchdog over major electric company
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A group devoted to monitoring major electric company Duke Energy has emerged following a recent announcement that the company plans to shift away from using some fossil fuels

The new group, called the Duke Energy Accountability Coalition, says it will fact-check documents released by the company and highlight customer concerns. 

“The coalition will work to improve Duke Energy’s greenhouse gas emission reductions, transition from fossil fuels to renewables, ratepayer affordability and equity, coal ash cleanup and health impacts, influence spending and more,” said a statement from the coalition. 


Making up the organization are green groups including the Environmental Working Group and Friends of the Earth. 

“For too long, Duke Energy has been able to call the shots that lock consumers into rates that are too high and energy sources that are too dirty,” said Donna Chavis, a senior fossil fuels campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said in a statement. 

“Experts, advocates and, most importantly, customers will now have a platform to shed light on practices that hold us back from a more democratic energy system,” Chavis added. 

Duke Energy is the electric provider for 7.7 million customers in six states. It criticized the group’s formation in a statement to The Hill. 

“The more progress we make, the more extreme the activist community becomes,” the company said. “The people and organizations who fund these groups should ask themselves if they want to be associated with this kind of cynical stunt.”

On Thursday, Duke Energy also held its annual shareholder meeting. 


Late last month, the company laid out plans detailing its goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The goal includes shifting away from usage of some fossil fuels, particularly coal and increasing its use of renewables. 

Duke touted these plans as an attempt to “address climate risks.”

The Duke Energy Accountability Coalition, however, criticized the company's plans, citing its intention to continue using natural gas and carbon offsets.