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Robert Trigaux

A new power giant emerging: Feds give OK to Duke Energy purchase of Progress Energy



UPDATED: Deal may finalize by July 1 if North and South Carolina regulators sign off. Here is Progress Energy's Monday morning press release on the federal approval.

Wake up and good morning. Well the betting is over. Federal regulators gave their conditional blessing to the acquisition of Progress Energy by Duke Energy to create the largest power company in the United States. It means Duke Energy, not Progress (regardless of the name on your bill), will be calling the final shots in central Florida and the bulk of Tampa Bay's electricity future. It means Duke, not Progress, will be the final judge in the future of the broken Crystal River nuclear power plant in Citrus County and in the proposed but long delayed and pricey $24 billion nuclear power plant just north of Crystal River in Levy County.

And it means a far bigger, more politically influential and, by Duke Energy's history, a more aggressive company will be running the show in Florida now. The deal means about 1,800 job cuts overall and raises at least some questions about the commitment to the Tampa Bay area of an even bigger North Carolina power company.

The approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC comes with about a dozen minor conditions. As reported by the Charlotte Observer, Duke and Progress have two weeks to decide if they can live with those tweaks to the deal. The deal comes a few months before the Democratic National Convention is scheduled to be held in Charlotte, N.C. -- Duke's headquarters town where Duke CEO Jim Rogers played a major role in bringing the DNC event to the city. Read more here.

A final step to the Duke-Progress deal is approval from North Carolina regulators, says Raleigh's News & Observer.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times

[Last modified: Monday, June 11, 2012 10:05am]


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