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Progress and Duke shareholders approve merger

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.

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