Demonstrators stake out Duke Energy shareholder meeting - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Demonstrators stake out Duke Energy shareholder meeting

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Demonstrators from Greenpeace, and several other organizations, appeared outside the Duke Energy Center in uptown Charlotte Thursday morning to protest the company use of coal-burning power plants.

Duke Energy held its annual shareholders meeting Thursday morning. It was the last meeting for CEO Jim Rogers, who is retiring.

Greenpeace is protesting Duke Energy's use of coal burning power plants and their disposal and storage of coal ash.

Protestors say it is destructive to the environment and want plants like the one at Mountain Island Lake.

In a news conference with reporters, the C-E-O covered a variety of topics.

On the coal plants, he said "our notion is we shut these plants down. We'll look at each plant, make a decision as to what needs to be done beyond the shutdown of the plant, and what the timing is."

Rogers says it's a "plant by plant analysis" and no decisions have been made.

Others are angry at the utility company's request for a rate hike.

"Seniors just can't tolerate these rate hikes" says Patrick Cobb of the American Association of Retired People {AARP} South Carolina. "They're being squeezed to death with cost of living increases. And when you're looking at double digit increase in power bills, they're being held captive by power companies."

Rogers says "the rate increase is tied  to investments that we made to build new plants in the state that produce cleaner energy and reliable energy. And these are plants pre-approved by the state commission."

Rogers also talked about his salary.

He says "for 7 years now I've only been paid in stock. No cash compensation. So to me that makes sense. As a consequence of that I live off dividends."

Rogers say after he leaves Duke Energy, he wants to put together an organization to bring electricity to the billion people in the world he says currently living without access to electricity.

Police have not reported any incidents or arrest from the protest.

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