Duke Energy Settles Lawsuit Involving Osprey Acquisition

By Editors of Power Engineering
Duke Energy has settled with the U.S. government to resolve a lawsuit alleging the utility committed a technical violation of federal antitrust law in its recent acquisition of the Osprey Energy Center.
The natural gas-fired Osprey plant in Auburndale, Fla. was acquired by Duke from Calpine Construction Finance Co. for $166 million in a deal completed on Jan. 3 of this year. Along with the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Florida Public Service Commission approved the deal.
At issue in the suit brought by the U.S. Justice Department was the date on which Duke sought FTC antitrust approval for its acquisition of Osprey—Jan. 30, 2015. The Justice Department holds that Duke should have sought FTC approval four months earlier when the utility signed a separate contract with the plant’s previous owner. Under this contract, Duke agreed to purchase electricity from Calpine during the period in which it awaited federal approval of the acquisition.
Duke maintains it sought FTC approval on the correct date and was in compliance with the relevant federal statue as it was widely interpreted by most companies at the time.
As part of the settlement, Duke admitted no wrongdoing or liability, but agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty to finalize the case and avoid costs associated with continued litigation.
The settlement is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

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