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Feds deny, delay Duke-Progress merger again

Federal regulators have again rejected the proposed merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy, assuring the $26 billion deal won't get done this year, and raising questions whether it can get done at all.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said this evening the merger raises serious concerns about giving the companies too much monopoly power in North Carolina. Announced in January, the merger would create the nation's largest electric utility to be based in Charlotte. It would also result in the elimination of 1,860 positions, mostly in North Carolina.

The federal commission issued its ruling the day before the agency was expected to consider the matter at a public hearing in Washington on Thursday morning. The ruling blindsided executives at both companies, who had hoped for an approval of the deal they have been working on for the past 11 months.

"It's certainly a surprise," said Progress spokesman Mike Hughes. "We are reviewing the ruling as to what our options are."

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