News Release
Jan. 09, 2001


CHARLOTTE -- Piedmont Natural Gas and Duke Power officials announced today that the two companies will begin exploring working agreements that mutually benefit the companies and their customers. Duke Power is a business unit of Duke Energy.

The first phase of the joint effort is a feasibility study on the potential for consolidating meter reading. The intent is to determine if joint meter reading could help manage each company's costs by sharing a single reader for both gas and electric meters. In comparing customer addresses within overlapping service territories in the Carolinas, a potential base of more than 500,000 customers exists.

"We're looking for opportunities to gain mutual efficiencies," Duke Power senior vice president E.O. Ferrell said. "If we find areas where synergies could be achieved, we would hope to begin a joint meter-reading pilot project in the third quarter of 2001."

As part of this project, the two companies also are looking into new technologies that can automate meter reading, such as joint remote meter reading.

"I know our Piedmont team is looking forward to working with their counterparts at Duke Power to find new ways to enhance value for our respective customers and shareholders," said Ray Killough, Piedmont Natural Gas senior vice president.

Additional projects are under consideration that have potential to contain costs and enhance customer satisfaction for each partner. These projects include sharing trenches during the installation of distribution facilities and partnering in negotiations with location services contractors for all underground pipes and wires.

Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation's largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity to approximately two million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Power operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system capability is 19,290 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at:

Duke Energy, a diversified multinational energy company, creates value for customers and shareholders through an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. Duke Energy manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses -- generating revenues of nearly $22 billion in 1999. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 100 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at:

Piedmont Natural Gas Company (NYSE:PNY) is an energy and services company primarily engaged in the transportation, distribution and sale of natural gas to over 690,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Company is the second-largest natural gas utility in the Southeast. Its non-utility subsidiaries and divisions are also engaged in acquiring, marketing, transporting and storing natural gas for large-volume customers, and in retailing residential and commercial gas appliances. An unregulated subsidiary of the Company is an equity participant in Heritage Propane Partners, L.P. (NYSE: HPG), the nation's fourth-largest propane distributor serving more than 480,000 customers in 28 states. Another unregulated subsidiary is an equity participant in a venture that markets natural gas to an additional 532,000 customers in Georgia, the first state in the venture's eight-state region to deregulate retail natural gas service. Additional information about the Company is available at

Contact: Steve Conner, Piedmont Natural Gas
Phone: 704/364-3483, ext. 6205
24 Hour Phone: n/a
Email: n/a
Contact: Joe Maher, Duke Power
Phone: 704/382-8323
24 Hour Phone: 704/382-8333