FERC conditionally approves Duke, Progress merger

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has conditionally authorized the proposed merger of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) and Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), subject to FERC's approval of mitigation measures to address its finding that the combined company could have an adverse effect on competition in Carolinas power markets.

In an order issued Sept. 30, the FERC said the companies have up to 60 days to propose measures to address the market power concerns.

The FERC's order did not identify any concerns about market power in the combined company's other service areas (Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky), or other significant issues that need to be addressed by the companies.

If completed, the merger will create the nation's largest electric utility, as measured by enterprise value, market capitalization, generation assets, customers and numerous other criteria. The combined company is expected to have more than 7.1 million electric customers in six states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky) and the largest regulated nuclear fleet in the country.

Both utilities received shareholder approval at separate meetings Aug. 23.

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