Duke Energy taps Heath Shuler as Washington lobbyist

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Retiring U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler is staying in Washington, but he will have a new job as a lobbyist for the country’s largest electric company, reports the Associated Press.

Shuler said Monday he’ll work on federal issues for Charlotte-based Duke Energy immediately after completing his current term in the U.S. House next month. Duke Energy has 7 million customers in the Carolinas, Florida, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

St. Petersburg-based Progress Energy, Florida’s second-largest power company, merged with Duke Energy in July. However, increasing repair costs at its Crystal River nuclear plant have resulted in an awkward transition. Progress serves more than 1.6 million homes, businesses and other customers in central and north Florida.

Shuler, a Democrat, decided not to run for a fourth term this year after Republican state lawmakers redrew his western North Carolina congressional district to add likely GOP voters.

The North Carolina native previously had a large real estate company in eastern Tennessee, where he played college football at the University of Tennessee. He also played quarterback for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.