Make us your home page

Q&A: How will Progress Energy merger affect Tampa Bay customers?

If Duke Energy completes the $13.7 billion deal to buy Progress Energy, here's what local customers might expect.

Will my bill go up? Or down?

A combined company would be able to trim jobs and run power plants more efficiently — saving, for example, $600 million to $800 million in fuel costs over five years — but electric bills aren't expected to fall. The costs of building new plants, erecting new wires and upgrading existing plants to meet clean air and clean water regulations are going to increase the cost of power.

Do I still send my payment to the same place?

Yes. The merger, if it is approved, isn't expected to be complete until the end of the year. Customers wouldn't see any changes until then, said Progress Energy spokesman Mike Hughes.

What happens next?

The merger must clear a series of hurdles with, for example, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and regulators in both states — plus get the approval of shareholders of both companies.

Will the deal go through?

Lasan Johong, a utilities analyst with RBC Capital Markets Equity Research, says he doesn't expect any major obstacles. Still, in recent years state regulators have scuttled proposed deals that would have created utility giants.

Will customer service change?

It's hard to say. But here's one clue: Duke Energy delivered the best customer satisfaction to residents in the southeastern United States, according to the latest J.D. Power survey. Progress Energy Florida was last among 14 utilities.

Will the merger affect the reliability of power to my house?

Over time, it's possible reliability could improve. A combined company would have more to invest in capital improvements at a cheaper cost, and Progress Energy Florida CEO Vinny Dolan says a larger utility would also mean more resources to respond to emergencies.

How does this affect construction of a planned nuclear plant in Levy County?

Progress and Duke officials hope their larger, merged companies will have greater ability to finance costly nuclear plants, so this may help stimulate the delayed project in Levy.

How many jobs will be lost?

Dolan says he expects the number of Florida jobs to stay the same — employees here work on the front lines. But there will be a drop in corporate staff in North Carolina. The companies would not provide details about job cuts but said they plan to rely heavily on attrition and retirements to reduce the workforce. After Duke's last large merger, with Cinergy Corp. in 2006, it laid off 1,500 people.

How many local employees does Progress Energy have?

There are approximately 1,200 Progress Energy employees in Tampa Bay, including 400 at its downtown St. Petersburg office and 250 at its Clearwater call center. In Florida, about 4,000 people work for Progress.

How many local customers does Progress Energy serve?

It provides power to roughly 639,000 customers in Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties, of about 1.6 million in the state.

So, Progress Energy will become Duke Energy. But will we still have "Progress Energy Florida"?

Progress CEO Bill Johnson and Duke CEO Jim Rogers say they haven't yet decided what Progress Energy Florida will be called.

Information from Times staff and the Associated Press was used in this report.

Q&A: How will Progress Energy merger affect Tampa Bay customers? 01/10/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 10, 2011 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  3. Pinellas licensing board loses support for staying independent

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board on Monday lost its strongest supporter for staying independent.

    State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican running for governor, said Monday that he will no longer support any legislation to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board independent. This photo was taken in August. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO


    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

    Sherry Smith is taking over as CEO at Triad Retail Media, the company announced Monday. | [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
  5. Two new condo projects for same street in downtown St. Pete

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.

    Bezu, a condo project planned at 100 Fourth Ave. NE in downtown St. Petersburg, will have 24 units including a three-level penthouse with infinity pool.
[Courtesy of Clear ph Design]