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Progress and Duke shareholders approve merger

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Progress Energy shareholders overwhelmingly approved the power company's $26 billion merger with Duke Energy this morning in Raleigh, just an hour after Duke shareholders gave their assent in Charlotte.

Shareholder approval, which was widely expected, would create the nation's largest electric utility with 7.1 million customers in six states. Progress shareholders voted 95.9 percent in favor of the vote, while Duke shareholders also voted overwhelmingly to approve the deal.

Executives at both electric utilities have promoted the deal for months as the best way to create the financial heft required to build new nuclear plants, upgrade transmission systems and comply with stricter environmental regulations.

"It means shareholders really like the deal," Progress CEO Bill Johnson said after the vote tally was announced this morning at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh.

This morning's votes were a major and symbolic hurdle, clearing the way for more critical reviews from regulatory agencies, consumer advocates, environmental groups and others.

On Friday, a host of organizations are expected to ask the N.C. Utilities Commission to impose conditions on the merger that will shift some of the financial benefits from shareholders to customers and other priorities. The filings will likely question the merger's public benefits as they have been touted by the two companies.

The utilities commission has scheduled a hearing in Raleigh on Sept. 20.


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you can guarantee it.  the

you can guarantee it.  the chairman of Duke is an egomaniac and will ultimately have to justify this 'merger' by jacking up rates for consumers. 

Tthis is the problem with utilities.  they have a monopoly on their service.  Granted, they are regulated but this guy, Jim Rogers has already been accussed in Kentucky and Indiana of colluding with regulators so he could jack up rates even though his bad decisions ran up the cost of building a power plant there.

He let his CFO take the fall for this one, of course.  He claimed he "knew nothing".. shocker.

Duke and Progress Merger

My wife and I are considering relocation to NC next year, and one of the issues is that the utility rates in Raleigh are 14% higher than our current location.  Is this merger and the future nuclear expansion going to cause an increase in what are already high utility rates?

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About the blogger

John Murawski has been a full-time newspaper reporter since 1991, with stints at Legal Times and The Chronicle of Philanthropy (both in Washington, DC), The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Palm Beach Post (in South Florida) before arriving at the N&O in December 2004. At the N&O he covers energy (nuclear, coal, renewable, efficiency), hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"), public utilities and health care. His beat includes PSNC Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, Duke Energy Progress, PowerSecure International, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Biogen Idec and others. He has also contributed more than 30 book reviews on topics spanning botany, history, science and religion. You can reach him at 919-829-8932 or e-mail him.