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Progress Energy merger with Duke Energy clears regulatory hurdle

Progress Energy and Duke Energy cleared another regulatory hurdle to complete their merger Friday, inching toward closing the deal before their agreement expires July 8.

In a nearly 200-page order, the North Carolina Utilities Commission outlined the conditions for the deal and the basis of its decision. The order also listed procedures for oversight of the combined utility.

The utilities are waiting for the last merger approval from utility regulators in South Carolina. The South Carolina Public Utilities Commission has scheduled a special meeting for Monday to vote on the merger.

The merger would create the largest utility in the country with a customer base of 7.1 million with service in six states and 57 gigawatts of power generation.

Officials with the utilities were reviewing the order Friday afternoon.

Progress and Duke wanted to close the deal Sunday, but they'll have to wait at least until after Monday's vote by South Carolina regulators.

The utilities announced the deal in January 2011 but did not receive approval from federal and state regulators until the past few weeks.

Federal regulators twice rejected the deal over concern that the combination of the two North Carolina-based companies — one in Charlotte, the other in Raleigh — would hurt competition with other utilities.

The added strength of the combined companies already has led some 30 lenders to promise $6 billion in credit if the utilities complete the merger.

Progress' stock was up 13 cents at $60.31 in afternoon trading. Duke's stock was up 4 cents at $23.09.

Ivan Penn can be reached at ipenn@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2332.

Progress Energy merger with Duke Energy clears regulatory hurdle 06/29/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 29, 2012 7:16pm]
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