Duke Energy/Progress Energy merger plans trouble Feds

Federal regulators say the merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy can go forward only with sweeping restrictions.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s 97-page ruling, issued late Friday, raises the possibility that the merger is in trouble unless the companies can find a way to resolve the agency’s numerous concerns.

The agency said the corporate merger would “have an adverse effect on competition” in the Southeast’s electricity market, characterizing the problems as “significant,” “systematic” and “severe.”

As a result, the commission conditionally approved the merger but said the two electric utilities had 60 days to propose solutions if they wished to proceed with the merger. The agency’s suggested remedies are to sell off power plants, build new transmission lines, or join a regional transmission authority.

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