Saturday, February 24, 2018
Business

Q&A: What Duke-Progress Energy merger means to customers

Progress Energy and Duke Energy are expected to complete their multibillion-dollar merger in the next week. It will create the largest electric utility in the country, with more than 7 million customers in six states and 27,000 employees.

So what does this all mean for Progress Energy customers? Here's what you need to know:

Will the merger make my rate go up?

At least not as an immediate result of the merger.

Progress Energy says the merger will not affect Florida retail rates. Rate adjustments will be based, as they are now, on Florida needs. The state Public Service Commission must approve any rate changes. Over time, Progress expects the merger to help the company run more efficiently and reduce the impact of future increases.

Progress Energy Florida customers currently pay significantly higher rates than customers of Tampa Electric and Florida Power & Light, which covers most of South Florida.

Why merge?

Progress CEO Bill Johnson and Duke CEO Jim Rogers say U.S. utilities will need to continue getting larger to support increased demand for power. The larger the utility, the greater its ability to attract capital to invest in new projects. It also increases the utility's influence in the business and political worlds.

What will the merger mean for Progress Energy's broken Crystal River nuclear plant and the proposed Levy County nuclear project?

Duke maintains that it supports Progress' plan to repair Crystal River, but the new board could decide otherwise and choose to decommission it. The proposed $24 billion Levy County nuclear project now is in competition with other proposed nuclear projects that Duke Energy was pursuing. It is unclear which, if any, the new company board will support.

Will the merger result in layoffs?

The merger is expected to result in more than 1,800 job cuts, many of which have already taken place. More than 1,100 come from voluntary severance, 368 from vacancies and about 350 through cuts, including some potentially in Florida.

Where will I send my bill?

The same place you do now. Progress Energy Florida has not announced any changes to bill payment processes or locations as a result of the merger.

Where will I find information about my utility online?

After the merger, Progress Energy Florida customers can continue to access information about the utility and their accounts at progress-energy.com.

Will the name of my utility remain Progress Energy or change to Duke Energy?

Progress Energy Florida will remain the name of the company's Florida arm in the near term. Progress Energy Florida's headquarters will remain in St. Petersburg. The overall company will be known as Duke Energy, with headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.

Will customer service representatives remain in Florida or will I get someone outside my state?

The combined company will have increased resources to meet customers' needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Progress says, "Our customer service representatives will be positioned to efficiently and effectively address our customers' needs."

What happens to the stock Progress Energy shareholders have now?

Progress Energy stock will be replaced with Duke Energy stock after the merger. Progress Energy's shareholders will receive 2.6125 shares of common stock of Duke Energy in exchange for each share of Progress Energy common stock.

Progress Energy shareholders would receive a value of $46.48 per share, or $13.7 billion in total equity value. Duke Energy also will assume approximately $12.2 billion in Progress Energy debt.

Who will run the new combined company?

Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson, who had been slated to be chief executive and president of the combined company, resigned by mutual agreement, and Duke's Jim Rogers will assume the role as the merger between the two utilities closed.

Rogers, who originally served as Duke Energy's CEO, was initially slated to be the executive chairman of Duke Energy after the merger.

The board will have 18 members, with 11 picked by Duke's current board and seven by Progress' current board. Of its top 13 officers, seven would come from Duke and six from Progress. Vincent Dolan will remain the president and chief executive officer of Progress Energy Florida.

How will the merger affect Tampa Electric?

Tampa Electric, already the smallest of the state's investor- owned utilities, will look even smaller compared to the combined Progress-Duke company and Florida Power & Light, the state's largest utility that is part of the massive NextEra Energy. So far there has been no talk of takeover of Tampa Electric, whose parent is TECO Energy.

Ivan Penn can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2332.

Comments
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

The head of the Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations into the way they report job placement figures says he has no intention of stepping down.That’s unless he is paid five months severance.In a letter from his attorn...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

VALRICO — During his final few days, 19-year-old Dustin Snyder moved to a hospice house, surrounded himself with belongings from home, swam in a pool and visited the beach in Ruskin.Wherever he went, the terminally ill Valrico man had family beside h...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

TAMPA — The Downtowner may be heading to Tampa Heights — but not until Oct. 1.That’s because the nonprofit Tampa Downtown Partnership this week won initial City Council approval to expand into Tampa Heights."Tampa Heights is becoming an important gat...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Tampa lawyer gets 27 months in federal prison for insider trading

Tampa lawyer Walter "Chet’’ Little was sentenced this week to 27 months in federal prison for engaging in an insider trading scheme that reaped him and a friend profits totaling nearly $1 million.According to federal authorities, Little accessed comp...
Updated: 11 hours ago
More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

Three major companies — Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha, and the cybersecurity giant Symantec — have ended co-branding partnerships with the National Rifle Association as a #BoycottNRA social media movement picks up steam.Enterprise...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citigroup is preparing to issue $330 million in refunds after the bank discovered it had overcharged nearly 2 million credit card customers on their annual interest rates, a spokeswoman said Friday.The bank, which has about 150 million credit card ac...
Published: 02/23/18
Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

ODESSA — The 63-year-old lakeside summer camp had no air conditioning or electricity. Cabin floors were often covered in grime, and cobwebs clung to the windows.But under new ownership, the 18.6 acres of Florida woods known as Camp Scoutcrest to memb...
Published: 02/23/18
BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

Millions of BB&T customers were unable to access their accounts after a service outage which the bank blames on an equipment malfunction. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based bank posted a statement on its Twitter page saying the problem persiste...
Published: 02/23/18
Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

ST. PETERSBURG — Tired of working as a yacht captain, Pancho Jiminez decided to get into real estate even though he knows it’s a highly competitive field in Florida."Realtors are every 10 feet around here," he says.Nonetheless, Jiminez is among 30 st...
Published: 02/23/18
Winn-Dixie sells 8 stores after report says owner could close 200 locations

Winn-Dixie sells 8 stores after report says owner could close 200 locations

A week after Bloomberg reported that Southeastern Grocers — the Jacksonville retailer that owns Winn-Dixie and other chains — could be closing up to 200 stores, the company announced it was selling off eight of its Louisiana locations.Texas’ Brooksh...
Published: 02/23/18