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Duke Energy Corp (DUK), PPL Corporation (PPL) – This Week in Utilities: New CEOs and Profitable Pilots

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Utilities have been busy this week, making moves to maximize profit potential. With failed rate requests, new CEOs and board members, and game-changing pilot projects, here’s what you need to know to stay on top of your dividend stocks’ latest moves.

Duke’s fresh start?
This week’s been a doozy for Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK). On Monday, North Carolina regulators rejected the utility’s $446 million base rate request, cutting increases nearly in half. The $235 million approved increase will be spread out over a three-year period, and Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) will also spend $10 million on an assistance package to offset rate increases for low-income customers.

Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK)

Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK)’s relationship with North Carolina regulators took a turn for the worse in 2012, when the corporation managed some questionable merger maneuvering to keep its CEO, Jim Rogers, as the head of its new corporation. As part of its “We’re sorry we were sneaky” deal with North Carolina, Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) announced this week that Rogers will be stepping down as CEO, with current CFO Lynn Good taking the reins in July.

“The selection committee considered several exceptional internal and external candidates and determined that Lynn’s leadership abilities and strategic vision for Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK)’s continued growth make her the ideal choice,” said Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) lead director Ann Maynard Gray in a statement.

If Good’s promotion can put bad blood to rest, Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK)’s new leadership may receive more favorable results from regulators. But if her insider position is seen as inextricably linked to Duke’s dark past, Good might still be bad for Duke energy stock.

Corporate musical chairs

The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES) announced Friday that it has added former PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL) CEO and Chairman James Miller to its board of directors. “Jim brings to The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES)’ Board substantial experience in the energy industry, both in the U.S. and internationally, including in regulated utilities and competitive power markets,” said The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES) Chairman Charles Rossotti in a statement.

Miller’s international experience bouncing between U.S. and U.K. operations may prove especially pertinent to The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES), a utility with operations in 27 countries. The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES) is currently in the process of selling off its non-core assets (inculding $284 million Brazil telecom Atimus), and Miller’s acquisition experience could come in handy as the utility tries to make the most of each sale.

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