Duke, Progress respond to merger critics

Duke Energy and Progress Energy have offered federal regulators additional assurances that they will build the $110 million in transmission upgrades the utilities proposed to secure approval of their merger.

The utilities still hope the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will rule by June 8, giving them a month to win state approval before a July 8 deadline to close the merger. FERC has problems with the merger’s effect on competition for wholesale power in the Carolinas.

The cities of Rocky Mount and New Bern, and Orangeburg, S.C., last week disparaged the utility plan to sell power to third-party marketers as they upgrade transmission facilities that will bring competitors’ energy into the Carolinas.

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