Schenectady Daily Gazette
July 18, 2002

Power plant backer has stock woes
Gazette Reporter With a wire report
GLENVILLE - The financial backer of the Glenville Energy Park, Duke Energy Corp., saw its stock shares stumble this week after the company disclosed some questionable trading practices.

Standard & Poor's said it placed its ratings for Duke Energy Corp. and its subsidiaries on review with negative implications. Duke has $21.5 billion of debt outstanding.

A Duke spokeswoman, however, said Wednesday that the drop in stock values and possible downgrade in rating will not affect the Glenville project.

"Stock prices aren't going to negate the fact that more generation is needed long term," said Kate Perez, manager of public affairs for Duke Energy North America, the subsidiary that is financially backing the GEP project.

Three brokerage firms downgraded Duke's stock Monday, saying they were concerned about the federal investigations into the utility's energy trading practices and about lower prices for electricity.

The company also confirmed that it placed an unnamed senior manager in its trading division on paid administrative leave.

Last week, Duke's stock lost 11 percent of its value after the company said it had received subpoenas from federal authorities requesting information about its energy trading practices.

Duke acknowledged that it made 23 "round-trip" energy trades, which inflate revenue and trading volume.

The president of Citizens Advocating Responsible Development, a Glenville grass roots organization that is opposed to the GEP project, was hopeful that Duke's difficulties will aid his cause.

"Since we oppose the power plant, we welcome any problems that Duke Power has," said CARD President Neil Turner Wednesday. "With the subpoenas and all that, our feeling is that the state - in their wisdom - will recognize that some power producers are more trustworthy than others and I hope that they take into account that Duke is being investigated."