A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Duke Energy’s new president, Amy Spiller, embracing the challenge, committed to solar and cleaner energy

By Hannah Carver
NKyTribune reporter

Bearing the responsibility for thousands of employees and staying accountable for the service of hundreds of thousands of customers, Amy Spiller is now a little more than a month into her new role, serving as state president of Duke Energy Ohio and Duke Energy Kentucky.

She’s no novice when it comes to the company and the area, though. Spiller has spent more than 15 years with Duke and its predecessor, Cinergy, in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Amy Spiller (Photo by Hannah Carver)

Most of her tenure has been spent in the legal department, working as deputy general counsel. There she had the opportunity to work with both individuals inside the company, as well as those outside the company, to develop and advance Duke Energy’s initiatives. Now, while those relationships will continue, they’ll move forward a bit differently.

“More of the responsibility for driving our business and for meeting our customers’ expectations will fall on my shoulders now, and I’m really thrilled for that opportunity,” Spiller said. “We have some incredibly talented and caring employees here at Duke Energy, and so to represent them in a different capacity now, is really a privilege for me.”

As is the case in many different industries, due to rapid change, it’s a challenging time in the energy sector.

“The way that we deliver power is changing,” Spiller said. “We have been here serving our customers for over 180 years, and there have been changes in the industry over that time, but I think now the pace of the change is much more frequent.”

Customers want cleaner energy, they want better communication, and they want convenience, control, and choices. They are reliant on perfectly reliable power – something that Spiller describes as difficult to make happen.

“So we are looking at ways we can improve our system,” Spiller said. “We’re making investments in modernizing our electric grid and in modernizing our natural gas systems, all of which our customers depend upon for their lives and for their businesses.”

Spiller’s office has a beautiful view across the river into Northern Kentucky. She says she and the Duke Energy team are very committed to economic development of the region. (Photo by Hannah Carver).

Duke Energy is also implementing an advanced metering infrastructure that’s already in place for 80 percent of the company’s Kentucky customers. The goal of the smart meter technology is to put the decision-making in the customers’ hands by providing feedback about their energy-use trends. That knowledge can then help individuals decide how they consume power, based on what’s best for them, their lifestyles, and their budgets.

Another big change that Spiller and Duke Energy are very proud of is the new solar facilities in Walton and Crittenden, Kentucky.

“I like to call it, ‘Bringing sunshine to the Commonwealth,’” Spiller said. “It was something that we had been working toward for many years, and it was really a great partnership… and that partnership continues.”

Just a few weeks ago, a group of Duke Energy employees partnered with the Boone County Garden Club to plant the foundation for a butterfly farm.

“We’re really excited about that, and as we move forward in Kentucky, that intention remains to continue developing solar facilities and renewable energy facilities.”

Spiller mulches garden beds alongside other Duke Energy employees.(Photo provided)

Building those relationships with the communities that Duke Energy serves is something that’s very important to Spiller.

“We are also very committed to the economic development of Northern Kentucky, and a program that we’re very proud of is our Urban Revitalization grant program.”

Implemented in 2011, the program has contributed nearly $2 million to almost 60 projects, sparking a variety of success stories like Hotel Covington, Braxton Brewery, and one of Spiller’s favorites, Frida 602.

“We’re just thrilled to be able to give back to our urban cores because they really are the center of our communities and to see the positive growth, and the opportunities in those communities, that has been created, in part through our contributions, is something that we’re really quite proud of,” Spiller said.

Spiller is filling the shoes of Jim Henning, who led Duke Energy’s Ohio and Kentucky region since 2012. He is now working at the company’s headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, serving as the senior vice president of customer services.

Reflecting on her new role, Spiller described it as both humbling and daunting, but exciting.

“It’s always been easy for me to advocate for this company because I’ve seen all of the good in our employees. To be able to advocate and champion on their behalf from a different chair, it’s pretty cool,” Spiller said. “The fact that I can get to continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with 2,300 employees – that’s really one of my favorite things.”

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