Progress Energy and Duke Energy this afternoon vowed to press ahead with their corporate merger, despite two previous rejections from federal regulators.
The two North Carolina electric utilities plan to file a revised proposal to address federal monopoly concerns, adding that the earliest possible date the $26 billion deal could be completed would be in March. Some Wall Street analysts are projecting the merger will take six more months to complete.
Charlotte-based Duke and Raleigh-based Progress announced 11 months ago they plan to form the nation's largest electric utility, with 7.1 million customers in six states. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said twice, most recently yesterday, that the merger would allow the two companies to manipulate market prices of electricity in North Carolina.
The federal commission wants the companies to give up control of power plants or transmission lines, either by selling or leasing those assets.
In a joint statement issued this afternoon, the companies said they will file a revised merger plan as soon as they review the federal commission's most recent order.
"The FERC ruling does not call into question the benefits of the merger," the joint statement said. "The combination of Duke Energy and Progress Energy will provide clear benefits for our customers, including overall lower corporate costs and $650 million in guaranteed benefits to customers in the Carolinas from the joint dispatch of the utilities' generation fleets and from power plant fuel savings."