Jan. 18, 2017 / — Duke Energy and the U.S. government today reached a settlement to resolve a government lawsuit that alleged Duke Energy committed a technical violation of federal antitrust law related to its recently completed acquisition of a Florida power plant.
Duke Energy admits no wrongdoing or liability as part of the settlement, but agrees to pay a $600,000 civil penalty to settle the case and avoid the costs and uncertainties of continued litigation.
The case involves Duke Energy’s $166-million acquisition of the Osprey Energy Center – a natural gas-fired power plant in Auburndale, Fla., previously owned by Calpine Construction Finance Co.
Duke Energy completed the acquisition on Jan. 3, 2017.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Florida Public Service Commission approved the acquisition – as did the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
At issue in the government’s now-settled lawsuit, filed by the U.S. Justice Department, was the date – Jan. 30, 2015 – that Duke Energy sought FTC antitrust approval for the acquisition.
The Justice Department said Duke Energy should have sought FTC approval four months earlier when Duke Energy signed a separate contract with the plant’s then-owner, Calpine Construction, to buy electricity from the power plant during the period when Duke Energy would be awaiting federal approval of the acquisition.
Duke Energy maintains it sought FTC approval on the correct date, in compliance with the relevant federal statute as it was widely interpreted by most companies at the time.
“We’re pleased we’ve been able to successfully resolve this case,” said Harry Sideris, president of Duke Energy Florida. “The addition of the Osprey power plant to our fleet of other Florida electricity generating facilities will help meet future energy demand and encourage economic growth throughout central Florida.”
The settlement is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
The monetary penalty will not be included in Duke Energy customers’ rates.