Duke Energy Corporation’s top utility executive, James Turner, has resigned after questionable emails exchanged between he and former Indiana Utility Regulatory Commissioner David Lott Hardy were published in the Indianapolis Star.
The emails, many personal in nature, were ongoing at a time when Duke Energy was seeking approval to build a coal plant in the southern Indiana town of Edwardsport. A state audit is underway investing all interactions regarding the plant, Duke and the IURC. Citizens’ Action Coalition executive director Grant Smith says he believes the problem is much broader than the immediate situation.
“We think there needs to be significant changes and reform and the best way to begin that is to have an elected IURC, elected commissioners at the IURC so that there is accountability to the public so that these types of relationships are very difficult to create or sustain.”
This latest action comes after former IURC commissioner Hardy was fired by Governor Mitch Daniels after failing to take action when a commission staffer who worked on Duke regulatory matters discussed, then took a job with the company that ultimately terminated him. Angeline (AN ja lin) Protegere (PRAH ti jer), a spokesperson for Duke Energy says her company is reviewing hiring practices regarding people who work for regulatory agencies and has hired an external law firm to conduct an ongoing review.