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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Powering Up

May 10, 2024 09:53AM ● By Donna Walker

Duke Energy Advances Energy Transition, Positions Company For Long-Term Success, CEO Tells Shareholders

In 2023, Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) executed its strategy, achieved significant regulatory and policy milestones, and ensured affordability and reliability for customers in the face of rapidly rising interest rates and extremely mild weather, CEO Lynn Good told investors during the company's annual shareholders meeting May 9, 2024. 


The accomplishments come at a critical time as the company enters a new era of record grid investments and generation build to meet customers' evolving needs and service the rapid growth in its service territories.


"I'm pleased with how the 27,000 teammates at Duke Energy built momentum for the future, navigating the challenges and emerging a stronger organization. We are excited about the path forward as a fully regulated utility and look forward to capitalizing on the unprecedented growth and investment opportunities ahead," Good said. 


Good cited several strategic milestones in 2023 that set the company up for success:


* "We completed our portfolio repositioning work, as we sold our commercial renewables business and became a fully regulated company. This strategic move allows us to focus on the significant investment opportunities within our regulated businesses."


* "We added 195,000 new customers in 2023 alone – the largest customer increase in company history. And we are projecting average overall load growth of 1.5% to 2% per year through 2028."


* "We saw constructive outcomes from state commissions in five electric rate cases and one natural gas rate case. These rulings in the Carolinas, Kentucky and Ohio equate to $45 billion of historic and future rate base investments and also recognize the higher cost of capital. This will help us continue to deliver value to customers and shareholders."


* "We also filed an updated Carolinas Resource Plan in August 2023 that outlines the road ahead for the next 15 years in our largest jurisdictions."


* "We are taking a systematic approach to updating the grid – the largest focus of our capital plan over the next five years – because transforming and readying our system starts with the grid."


"Duke Energy is also pursuing emerging technologies needed in the 2030s and beyond to reach our climate goals, including plans to build and operate the nation's first solar-to-100 percent hydrogen fueled turbine, expected to be operational by year-end."


Recently appointed President Harry Sideris, who oversees the company's electric and gas utilities, joined Good for the meeting and reinforced the strength of the company's fundamentals.


Sideris covered several key accomplishments:


* "Our generation fleet performed well during extreme weather conditions last year including historic storms in Indiana and Florida."


* "Outstanding performance continued across our organization, with our nuclear fleet achieving a capacity factor of 96 percent – the 25th consecutive year above 90 percent."


* "And I'm particularly proud to report 2023 marked the best safety performance in Duke Energy history."

Churchill Stateside Group Closes $15.4M in Financing for the Rehabilitation of a 64-Unit LIHTC Apartment Community in Summerville, SC

Churchill Stateside Group, LLC, a real estate and renewable energy financial services company, announced the closing of Azalea Park, a 64-unit 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit development in Summerville, South Carolina.


Financing for the rehabilitation of this community includes a $10,600,000 construction loan and a $4,850,000 forward permanent loan with a 40-year amortization.


Officials said the funding, arranged by Churchill Mortgage Construction LLC and Churchill Mortgage Investment LLC, subsidiaries of CSG, marks a significant milestone for the project.


Azalea Park Apartments aims to address the housing needs of the Summerville area while fostering economic growth and opportunity, the officials said.


Originally built in 2003, the community consists of eight two-story buildings offering both two and three-bedroom units tailored to families earning up to 60 percent of the area median income (AMI).


Renovations will encompass extensive interior and exterior upgrades, including new flooring, bathtubs, showers, lighting, kitchens, and more.


Michael Spain, VP, Southeast regional director for CSG, said, “We at Churchill Stateside Group are committed to supporting the revitalization of affordable housing communities across the country."


Spain added, "Our tailored financing solutions empower developers to transform existing properties, like the one in Summerville, into vibrant and sustainable living spaces that enhance the quality of life for residents and contribute positively to the local community.”


Churchill Stateside Group and its wholly owned affiliates serve the affordable housing and commercial renewable energy industries.


CSG sponsors tax credit equity investment funds for institutional investors and provides a variety of construction, permanent, and bond financing solutions.


With over $6 billion of assets under management, CSG has long-standing and successful investment relationships with numerous corporate investors.


The company, through its subsidiary Churchill Mortgage Investment LLC), is an approved USDA Rural Development and HUD/FHA MAP and LEAN lender and Ginnie Mae Issuer, seller, and servicer.

$4.5 Million Raised for Midlands Nonprofits: Another Record-Breaking Year

Midlands Gives Day, Central Carolina Community Foundation’s annual 18-hour online giving challenge, raised $4,588,248 via 19,264 individual gifts.


The 11th annual online day of giving took place on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, and supported 574 local nonprofits — the most nonprofits in Midlands Gives history.


“We continue to be awestruck by the level of generosity in our community. Over $28 million has been raised in the last 11 years, and these dollars stay in the Midlands to have a direct impact locally,” said Interim CEO, Kevin Patten. 


Since the inception of Midlands Gives in 2014, donors have contributed $28,739,831 for hundreds of local nonprofits in the Community Foundation’s 11-county service area: Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda and Sumter.


One hundred percent of each contribution, less a 2.2 percent credit card fee and a 2.8 percent Neon One technology fee, will go directly to the donor’s selected nonprofit. Donors had the option to cover these fees at checkout.


The Foundation doesn’t receive any fees from Midlands Gives.


In Good Company Network members — including Aflac, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Columbia Fireflies, Dominion Energy, Southeastern Freight Lines, Truist, and others — provided financial incentives, matching gifts and prizes for nonprofits on May 7, amplifying individuals’ contributions of $10 or more.


Additionally, many nonprofits secured matching gifts from donors throughout the community.


The Foundation’s affiliate funds, Greater Chapin Community Foundation, Kershaw County Community Foundation, Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties Community Foundation, and Sumter Community Foundation, received $43,307 in matching funds.


Here is a breakdown of each fund’s dollar-to-dollar match:   


 Greater Chapin Community Foundation – $6,716 to 17 nonprofits.

 Kershaw County Community Foundation – $9,066 to 28 nonprofits.

 Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties Community Foundation – $21,041 to 45 nonprofits.

 Sumter Community Foundation – $6,484 to 27 nonprofits.


Elected officials from the Foundation's 11-county service area participated in the Central Carolina Community Foundation Elected Officials Challenge.


Each participant's chosen nonprofit organization received up to $500. In total, $5,500 was distributed to 11 nonprofit organizations.  


* Mayor Daniel Rickenmann (City of Columbia) – Dyslexia Resource Center.

* Sen. Tamekia Isaac Devine (Senator District 19) – City Year Columbia.  

* Mayor Tem Miles (City of West Columbia) – West Columbia Beautification Foundation. 

* Mayor Tom Andrews (City of Forest Acres) – The Therapy Place.

* Mayor Hazel Livingston (Town of Lexington) – Mission Lexington and Palmetto Childrens and Youth Services.

* Jim Crosland, Deputy City Manager (City of Cayce) – Cayce Public Safety Foundation.

* The Honorable Jesica Mackey (Richland County Council Chair) – Richland County First Steps.

* Mayor Julia Nelson (City of Manning) – Lee County First Steps.

* The Honorable Beth Carrigg (Lexington County Council Chair) – Big Red Barn Retreat. 

* Councilman Russell Brazell (Kershaw County Council) – Kershaw County Sheriffs Foundation. 

IRS: Interest Rates Remain Same For Third Quarter of 2024

The Internal Revenue Service said May 9, 2024, that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning July 1, 2024. 


For individuals, the rate for overpayments and underpayments will be 8 percent per year, compounded daily. 


Here is a complete list of the new rates: 


* 8 percent for overpayments (payments made in excess of the amount owed), 7 percent for corporations.

* 5 percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000.

* 8 percent for underpayments (taxes owed but not fully paid).

* 10 percent for large corporate underpayments. 


Under the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis. 


For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points. 


Generally, in the case of a corporation, the underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points and the overpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 2 percentage points. 


The rate for large corporate underpayments is the federal short-term rate plus 5 percentage points. 


The rate on the portion of a corporate overpayment of tax exceeding $10,000 for a taxable period is the federal short-term rate plus one-half (0.5) of a percentage point. 


The announced interest rates are computed from the federal short-term rate determined during April 2024. 

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