We learn what is important to our stakeholders and communities through regular meetings, surveys and community open houses. We constantly strive to understand and find the right balance in meeting the expectations of all our stakeholders.
The company’s experienced community relations managers – six located in Florida and seven across our Carolinas territory – facilitate a range of stakeholder communications. Our relationships with local government, business and community leaders enable us to understand significant community needs and concerns. We collaborate with key stakeholders on strategies that strengthen the economic vitality for our communities, where our employees live and work.
The community relations team also helps to connect communities with company initiatives, including our Neighborhood Energy Saver program, which reaches into low-income neighborhoods to install energy-saving improvements at no cost to the customer. In 2011, the program expanded to serve more than 7,700 eligible families.
Additionally, the team is visible on the roads across our territory as they showcase plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) that are part of the company’s EnergyWise® smart grid initiative. Through collaboration with our local community partners, we are demonstrating this technology and discovering more about the impact of electric cars and trucks on the grid. Progress Energy is investing in PEV technology, including a charging station load research project, currently under way in the Carolinas and Florida.
Our community relations team supports ongoing strategic community investments and initiatives. They also play a vital role in the company’s storm restoration efforts as they communicate with local leaders and emergency management officials in their geographic region before, during and after a storm. This enables better preparedness and restoration and helps us continually improve storm response.
We work hard to support the safety and well-being of our communities. We adhere to governmental regulations, and our internal policies establish strict protocols for employees to follow in their day-to-day work and in responding to adverse events.
At our nuclear facilities, ongoing reviews are conducted to ensure plans and procedures achieve the primary goal of protecting public health and safety. Federal regulations require that our company develop and test emergency response plans for our nuclear facilities. These biennial drills at each nuclear facility are coordinated with stakeholder organizations such as local, state and federal emergency management agencies. Our company, along with the emergency management agencies, is formally evaluated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
At our non-nuclear facilities, we have critical response programs and policies designed to provide continuity of operations. These policies address protocol for managing natural events (hurricanes, ice storms, floods) and man-made occurrences (fires, chemical spills, cyber events, acts of terrorism). Similar to nuclear planning, these plans often involve coordination with various stakeholder groups and are reviewed and updated regularly.
Progress Energy has constructed and maintains thousands of miles of overhead electric transmission lines in the Carolinas and Florida. These large, high-voltage lines form the “backbone” of the company’s electric transmission and distribution system. They carry electricity long distances from generating plants to substations and usually occupy large corridors (some over 150 feet wide and extending for miles). Transmission routes are carefully chosen to avoid or minimize negative effects on the environment and the community.
The process of choosing a transmission route involves preliminary identification of several potential routes, and each undergoes a detailed, quantitative evaluation. Impacts on waters and wetlands, natural areas, cultural and historic resources, threatened and endangered species, residences, commercial infrastructure and other factors are all considered.
To ensure unbiased review, route selection studies are typically completed using outside consultants with multidisciplinary teams that include land planners, environmental specialists, engineers and real estate specialists.
After a quantitative ranking of several alternative routes, Progress Energy seeks community input on the routes. Then, Progress Energy works closely with a group of environmental agency stakeholders to identify and address any other issues to ensure we select the best route. Thus, to the extent possible, sensitive ecological areas are avoided. Where avoidance is not possible, we seek to minimize and, if necessary, mitigate negative impacts.
The goal is a transmission line that provides our service area with safe and reliable electricity while minimizing impacts on individual property owners and environmental and cultural resources.
Progress Energy communicates and collaborates with elected and appointed officials at the federal, state and local levels to ensure that public policy supports the interests of our customers, shareholders and employees.
Our company is committed to maintaining a constructive legislative and regulatory climate that supports our mission of providing safe, reliable and affordable energy to our customers. We advocate clear, thoughtful policies that provide shared benefits for our company and the communities we serve.
ProgressPAC, Progress Energy’s employee Political Action Committee (PAC), encourages employee engagement and participation in the political process. In 2011, ProgressPAC contributed $471,500 to state and federal candidates and political organizations. Additionally, Progress Energy’s grassroots network, ProgressPower, educated employees and retirees on public policy issues.
All government, political activities and political contributions must comply with Progress Energy’s Code of Ethics and are disclosed as required by law. We are members of a number of national and statewide organizations, including the Edison Electric Institute, Nuclear Energy Institute, National Chamber of Commerce, state chambers and other organizations that promote energy policy. We also maintain lobbying offices in Washington, D.C., and state capitals in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.