Duke Energy meeting declared 'extraordinary event' after coal ash controversy

Published: Apr. 30, 2014 at 3:57 PM EDT|Updated: May. 30, 2014 at 3:57 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee has declared Thursday's Duke Energy shareholder meeting an "extraordinary event," a title that gives police broader powers than they usually have to search people in the area.

City council adopted an ordinance in January of 2012 which authorized the city manager to make the call when collaborating with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to analyze large events and the security risks they pose.

The Democratic National Convention was also declared an "extraordinary event."

Officials want to be cautious about Duke Energy's meeting because of the heated controversy over its recent coal ash spill, and the fact that the company's coal ash policies have attracted protestors to its shareholder gatherings before.

In a release issued Tuesday afternoon, the city said "The Extraordinary Event designations allows the City to modify its permitting process for activities such as parades or large public gatherings and specifies certain items that are prohibited from being brought into certain boundaries of the event."

But it will not, the city goes on to say, "affect the normal way of life for citizens who are going about their daily activities.

For example, residents will be able to walk their dog within the extraordinary event boundaries without fear of arrest."

Bank of America's shareholder meeting on May 7th will fall under the same category as well.  In the past, the bank has been the target of large protests over its mortgage and foreclosure-related activities, and this year's meeting could get heated too.

The bank announced this week that an accounting error led it to overstate its capital levels, and that it may not be able to raise its quarterly dividend to 5 cents a share in the second quarter as planned.

That raise was much anticipated by shareholders, because the bank had only been paying a penny per share since the financial crisis.

Duke Energy's shareholder meeting will start at 10am on Thursday. It will be held at the O.J. Miller Auditorium at 526 South Church Street.

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