Duke Energy Honors Three Employees with Pinnacle Award - Duke Energy

News Release
July 26, 2006

Duke Energy Honors Three Employees with Pinnacle Award

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Three Duke Energy employees were honored today with Duke Energy’s Pinnacle Award, the company’s highest award for outstanding contributions to the company’s business success.

Honored were:

  • Richard Bates, managing director, mergers and acquisitions, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Gregg McBride, vice president, rates and economic analysis, Duke Energy Gas Transmission, Houston, Texas
  • Sandra Meyer, president, Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio

Awarded annually, the Pinnacle Award recognizes Duke Energy employees who achieve business results above and beyond expectations in the areas of customer service, innovation, business generation, financial performance, operational excellence and enhanced corporate capability or reputation.

Richard Bates played a critical role in the company’s successful exit of its merchant energy business, Duke Energy North America (DENA), in the fall of 2005. In conjunction with the company’s decision to exit this business, Duke Energy classified DENA operations as discontinued, requiring the company to divest its unregulated plants as well as its trading and marketing business within one year.

Bates quickly formed a team that considered potential buyers in the context of company size, financial strength and strategic direction. Within less than two months of the exit announcement, Bates and his team solidified a deal. The transaction eliminated the requirement of $2 billion of collateral and enabled the company to achieve its strategic objective.

Gregg McBride secured regulatory stability for Duke Energy Gas Transmission (DEGT) on a number of high profile rate issues involving its natural gas pipelines and storage assets. In doing so, he played a lead role in helping the business unit achieve one of its seven strategic imperatives for 2005.

Following the expiration of rate discount agreements for East Tennessee Natural Gas (ETNG), a southeastern pipeline and storage facility owned and operated by Duke Energy, McBride took a proactive approach to negotiate a new settlement with ETNG customers. Ultimately this forward-thinking strategy led to a long-term rate stabilization for ETNG, saved the company $2 million and increased the pipeline’s earning potential by approximately $5 million.

Sandra Meyer led Duke Energy Carolinas (formerly Duke Power) to achieve its highest customer satisfaction rankings in company history while in her previous role as group vice president of customer service, sales and marketing. Under her leadership, the company ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Residential Electric Service in the Southern United States,” according to the J.D. Power and Associates’ 2005 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study. (Study based on a total of 26,782 consumer responses. In the southern U.S., the top 13 largest electric companies were ranked in the study). The company also became the second utility in the nation to receive Call Center Certification from J.D. Power and Associates. This designation recognizes call centers across the United States for providing "An Outstanding Customer Service Experience.” (For more information about J.D. Power and Associates, visit their Web site at www.jdpower.com).

These achievements were the result of Meyer’s creative and innovative implementation of programs created to improve the customer experience without increasing costs. Meyer served as the executive sponsor of the “I Can Help” program, which encourages and recruits employees across the company to improve the customer experience. The program incorporates a phone line, e-mail address and fax number that employees can contact to report customer concerns. She also led a training initiative to teach more than 15,000 front-line employees and contractors the importance of their roles in helping customers. As a result of these combined efforts, use of the “I Can Help” service increased three-fold in 2005, allowing the company to more efficiently address specific customer issues.

Duke Energy is a diversified energy company with a portfolio of natural gas and electric businesses, both regulated and unregulated, and an affiliated real estate company. Duke Energy supplies, delivers and processes energy for customers in the Americas. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: http://www.duke-energy.com.

Contact: Elizabeth Bennett
Phone: 704-382-7844
24-Hour Phone: 704-382-8333