One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

May 11, 2021

Last week, in our 🍎 of our 👁 post, we noted globalization had wiped many long-time North Carolina-headquartered businesses off the face of the earth:

Nationally-known name brands headquartered in North Carolina – like Wachovia, Burroughs Wellcome, Centura, Lorillard and Jefferson-Pilot – either disappeared from the face of the earth or became rump regional outposts of national and international conglomerates.

And we speculated that Apple – the world’s largest company – building its first East Coast campus in Research Triangle Park and bringing a minimum of 3,000 jobs, an average wage of almost $200,000 and over $1 Billion in capital investment to our state might indicate the forces of globalization were finally working in North Carolina’s favor. 

We might have gotten ahead of ourselves.

 The Wall Street Journal just reported a big New York City Hedge Fund has taken a significant financial stake in Duke Energy, North Carolina’s largest power provider.  It is unclear what the hedge fund’s specific plan involves at this point, but the report alludes to a previous takeover attempt and references plans to break up the utility by selling off assets.  

Losing Duke Energy would be a big blow to North Carolina.  The draconian job cuts that often accompany Hedge Fund raids, as billionaire investors try to make a quick buck without any long-term concern for the health of the company, are bad enough.  

But the track record of Wall Street raider types sticking it to customers when they go after energy companies is even worse.  Look no further than this winter’s RTO-induced power grid collapse in Texas, where the Wall Street crowd grabbed huge profits at the same time customers were pummeled with power bills exceeding $10,000… for a single month of power.

So, beware of these raiders looking to break up our North Carolina-headquartered public utility company.  Days after we took one big step forward by landing the biggest economic development project in state history, we don’t want to take two steps back.