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Consumer Watchdog Launches Campaign Exposing Duke Energy ESG Priorities Over Reliable Power Grid

The new campaign from Consumers’ Research is exposing corporate activism through a series of digital and billboard ads.

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A consumer watchdog unveiled a new campaign Thursday to highlight one of the nation’s largest energy provider’s loyalties to Wall Street social, environmental and governance standards (ESG) over a safe and reliable power grid.

The new campaign from Consumers’ Research, an educational non-profit, is exposing the corporate activism through a series of digital and billboard ads complete with a new website, RebukeDuke.com, modeled after Duke Energy’s own webpage. The group also opened the initiative with a letter calling on the North Carolina Utilities Commission to reject corporate rate increases to pay for far-left activism. The company has pledged $145 billion over the next decade to achieve “net-zero” emissions power generation.

“As the nation’s oldest consumer protection organization, Consumers’ Research’s purpose is to educate consumers on issues that impact them and amplify their voice in the marketplace. It is for this reason that we implore the commission to put an end to the abuse of North Carolina consumers by Duke Energy,” wrote the watchdog Executive Director Will Hild. “Duke’s operations have become a laundry list of expensive boondoggles and distractions.”

Hild’s laundry list of boondoggles outlined in the letter range from “racist trainings and racial quotas” to “targeting children with transgender propaganda,” all paid for by “never-ending rate increases.”

“When they aren’t pushing double-digit rate increases onto customers, they are busy wasting their time and customers’ money pushing political initiatives (some targeting children) and massive pay increases for their executive suite,” Hild wrote.

On Wednesday, the company struck an agreement with North Carolina officials that feature rate increases for residents across the state.

“Duke says it needs the extra revenues to pay for strengthening the electric grid, improving reliability and adding more renewable energy,” a local NPR affiliate in Charlotte reported, citing a statement from the energy company.

“We believe this is a constructive outcome that enables Duke Energy to maintain strong progress toward building a cleaner, more reliable energy future for our North Carolina customers,” the company said.

The same activism is to blame, however, for deadly failures in California and Hawaii that led to the destruction of entire communities.

Hawaiian Nightmare

In Hawaii, the entire town of Lahaina was reduced to ash and rubble after hurricane winds are suspected to have brought down power lines run by Hawaiian Electric, sparking flames. The company now faces multiple lawsuits following the fires that caused upwards of $6 billion in damage. At least one suit alleges the utility servicing 95 percent of residents failed to de-energize power lines ahead of high-risk conditions.

According to The New York Times, the Hawaiian Islands had been warned about the potential for apocalyptic wildfires for years. A report from 2020 gave West Maui, in particular, where this month’s fires killed at least 115 people, the highest likelihood of wildfires breaking out.

“What’s more, the report said that West Maui had the county’s second-highest rate of households without a vehicle — almost 7 percent — and the highest density of multiunit housing in the county — almost 40 percent,” read The Times. “The report identified 50 strategies for the county to take to lessen the impact of natural hazards. For example, one of them called for the county to ‘establish an alternative route to and from West Maui for use during disasters.'”

Despite the prophetic report, the world’s largest warning sirens remained silent as the blaze forced residents to risk drowning in the Pacific as Lahaina burned. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that barricaded road closures also kept many residents trapped in the flames.

“The road closures — some because of the fire, some because of downed power lines — contributed to making historic Lahaina the site of the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century,” the story read.

Meanwhile, the state received $26 million to fund eight climate change resiliency projects across the islands from the bipartisan infrastructure package passed two years ago. Power line protection was not listed by Hawaii Public Radio among the eight projects to receive federal funding.

Hawaiian Electric itself was aware of the risk but was slow to act. According to The Wall Street Journal, the utility failed to clear invasive grasses and spent less than $250,000 on fire prevention between 2019 and 2022. Instead, the company remained fixated on a shift to “clean” energy, a priority espoused by ESG standards demanding corporate compliance with far-left climate goals.

‘Fire In Paradise’

The same alleged misconduct by a corporate utility giant is to blame for California’s 2018 Camp Fire that ultimately became the subject of documentaries on both Netflix and Frontline PBS. Each titled “Fire In Paradise,” the pair of films chronicle the destruction of the entire town of Paradise from the blaze that killed 85 people.

Investigators attributed the flames to faulty equipment run by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), a San Francisco-based utility. In 2020, the company pled guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and was forced to pay a $3.5 million fine over the devastation.

PG&E has also pledged a commitment to “net-zero” emissions while the state also remains distracted from proper wildfire resilience efforts. In 2019, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom cut California’s budget for wildfire prevention and resource management by 40 percent.


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