North Carolina OKs Duke Energy-Piedmont Natural Gas merger

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina regulators are allowing Duke Energy to expand from being the country's largest electricity company to selling natural gas.

Duke Energy Corp. said in a statement Thursday that the North Carolina Utilities Commission has allowed its acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas Co. The regulatory approval is the last needed for the deal. The transaction is expected to close Monday.

Duke Energy is spending nearly $5 billion in cash for Piedmont to control natural gas costs for its own power plants. Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good has said the company also is positioning for a national expansion in future gas demand.

Both companies are based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They were already working together to build a 550-mile-long pipeline to deliver natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina.

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