North Carolina regulators have turned down a request by environmental advocacy groups to indefinitely suspend their review of the pending merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy.
The decision by the N.C. Utilities Commission this week means that Duke and Progress could potentially get their $26 billion merger completed by this year or early next year. Just this week, the two utilities offered a voluntary bouyout program to several thousand eligible employees as part of the merger integration goal to eliminate 2,000 positions.
The merger, which would create the nation's biggest electric company, is simultaneously being reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington.
Environmental groups had argued that if the federal commission imposes conditions on the merger, that would throw into disarray the North Carolina proceedings, which are contingent on reviewing the merger as proposed, not as it might be altered by federal regulators.