Merger to Create Utilities Giant

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted August 11, 2011

North Carolina-based companies Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) and Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN) are looking for approval for a merger.

And last week, the merger request received a conditional approval by the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

If the companies agree to appoint a board member from Kentucky, Indiana, or Ohio and keep their energy conservation and efficiency programs, they will receive full approval from the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

The merger would create a utility giant, and the joint company would become the largest of its kind in the United States.

The utilities company would serve 7.1 million customers in North and South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.

The $26 billion deal still required approvals from other states, as Kentucky was the first to do so, reports Platts.

And both companies have also decided to hold a shareholder vote for approval of the merger.

The shareholder meetings for both companies will be held on August 23.

Duke and Progress plan to complete the merger by the end of this year.

Barring any complications, Progress Energy will become a subsidiary of Duke, and shareholders of both companies will become shareholders of Duke.

On Thursday, Duke Energy also announced approval a rate increase for North Carolina customers.

Due to rising coal and other fuel costs, North Carolina customers will see their monthly energy costs rise about $5 per month to an average $97 per month.

As News & Observer reports, around $4.50 would account for fuel costs, approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, and waiting for approval is an additional $0.47 raise for renewables.

Customers unhappy with this price hike could see more benefits, however, if the merger goes through and Duke becomes one of the nation’s largest utilities.

Duke Energy was up 4.46% on Thursday to $18.02, and Progress Energy was up 5.67% to $46.03.

That’s all for now,


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