CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Delivering value to customers is key to Duke Energy’s success, Chairman, President and CEO Lynn Good told investors during the company’s annual shareholders meeting today.
Duke Energy’s 2018 performance “gives us confidence as we grow the company and execute our long-term strategy, which is our road map to bring value to our shareholders and our customers,” Good said. “That strategy starts with the customer – because for us to win, we must put them at the center of everything we do.”
For example, Duke Energy in 2018 responded to federal tax reform, ensuring the law’s benefits flowed to the company’s customers while also maintaining the company’s balance sheet and credit quality, she said.
Duke Energy also “focused on turning data into results, helping provide more value to customers,” Good said. “Already, we’ve used data to improve how customers pay their bills, report outages and start service. In addition, we’ve recently launched several mobile apps, giving customers more control and access to information right on their smartphone.”
In addition, “more than 62 percent of our customers have smart meters, giving them access to enhanced usage information and alerts. We remain on track to have smart meters fully deployed in all our jurisdictions by year-end 2021,” she said.
Modern electric grid
Duke Energy in 2018 also continued to build “a more modern, intelligent” electric grid “that is more resilient, secure and reliable,” Good said.
“Across our footprint, self-healing technologies prevented more than 700,000 extended power outages in 2018. And our technology prevented 80,000 extended outages during Hurricane Florence, and gave us better information to expedite restoration following this storm,” she said.
Duke Energy restored 3 million power outages, handled over 3 million phone calls and sent over 27 million emails and text messages to customers in the aftermath of hurricanes Florence and Michael, Good said. “I cannot thank our employees enough for their incredible work to support our customers.”
Duke Energy in 2018 also continued its ongoing transition to renewable energy and natural gas, and away from coal, to generate electricity – while also efficiently operating its zero-carbon fleet of nuclear power plants, Good said.
Combined, these efforts kept the company on track to reduce its carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030, from 2005 levels.
“We brought two combined-cycle, natural gas-fired plants online, and will bring a third online by the end of 2019. We also remained one of the nation’s largest renewable energy providers. By year-end, we owned or purchased a total of 7,100 megawatts of wind, solar and biomass energy – enough to power 2 million homes,” she said.
“We have connected more than 2,500 megawatts of solar in the Carolinas over the past four years, helping keep North Carolina second in the nation for overall solar power capacity. And in Florida, we are adding 700 megawatts of solar in the state,” Good said.
The company in 2018 also expanded its commercial renewables footprint to 14 states, and is pursuing new opportunities in this growing segment, she said. “In addition, we outlined plans for $500 million in battery storage projects in the Carolinas over the next 15 years.”
But even as Duke Energy invests in new energy sources, the company’s existing zero-carbon nuclear power plant fleet “remains fundamental to our success,” Good said. “That’s why we continue evaluating subsequent license renewals for our nuclear fleet for an additional 20 years of operation.”
The company in 2018 also continued its commitment to environmental stewardship in the management of coal ash at its operating and retired coal-fired power plants, she said. “I’m very proud of our progress as we permanently close every ash basin to protect people and the environment, while keeping costs affordable.”
Natural gas infrastructure
In addition in 2018, Duke Energy continued to expand its natural gas infrastructure.
“We retrofitted two coal units to run on natural gas. We also announced plans to build a liquefied natural gas facility, helping Piedmont Natural Gas meet demand during peak usage days,” Good said.
“Importantly, we worked diligently to complete the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Unfortunately, legal and permitting challenges have stopped major construction activity. But let there be no doubt that we remain committed to this project. It will bring much-needed natural gas supplies to the Southeast, as well as economic growth in rural areas of this region,” she said.
Economic growth, community support
Economic development, job creation and community support also remained top priorities for Duke Energy in 2018, Good said.
Duke Energy’s economic development specialists helped attract $5.3 billion in capital investment and 14,000 new jobs to communities served by the company.
Meanwhile, the Duke Energy Foundation donated more than $31 million to schools, colleges and a variety of nonprofit organizations, and company employees and retirees volunteered over 126,000 hours of their time.
Other shareholder business
Also at today’s meeting:
- Good fielded shareholder questions on a range of topics. The company will post responses to all questions on its website.
- Shareholders rejected all four shareholder proposals.
- Shareholders elected all 14 board of director nominees.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 125 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.
Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2019 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Contact: Dave Scanzoni