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Duke, Progress promise savings, funding if merger approved

Posted September 2, 2011

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— Duke Energy and Progress Energy agreed Friday to save customers $650 million over five years and continue pumping money into local communities if state regulators approve their proposed merger.

The promises were part of a proposed settlement between the two utilities and the North Carolina Public Staff, the state's chief consumer advocate on utility matters.

The state Utilities Commission is expected to consider the settlement at a Sept. 20 hearing. The commission is among several regulatory agencies that still must approve the $35 billion merger, which would create the largest utility in the U.S., with 7.1 million customers in six states.

The two utilities said they would pass along at least $650 million in savings to North and South Carolina customers from efficiencies in buying and using fuel and meeting area power demands through a combination of the companies' plants.

They also promised to maintain their community support at about $16.5 million a year for the next four years and provide $15 million for weatherizing low-income homes, funding community college programs for technical training and other initiatives.

"We are very pleased to have reached this proposed settlement agreement with the Public Staff," Progress Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Johnson said in a statement. "The settlement will provide constructive and tangible benefits for our customers and communities."

Johnson will serve as CEO of the merged utility, which will be based in Charlotte.

Progress Energy announced Thursday that Raleigh would lose 700 to 1,000 jobs in the merger. Many positions will be shifted to Charlotte, and others will be eliminated through layoffs and buyouts.

About 2,000 people now work for Progress Energy in Raleigh.

"We have a century-long history in Raleigh," Johnson said. "We will continue to be a driving force in Raleigh and eastern North Carolina, and we will work to make the transition as smooth as possible for our employees, our customers and our communities."

The agreement with the Public Staff also stipulates that the utilities won't recoup the costs of completing the merger from their customers. Their recovery of employee severance costs will be addressed later, under the agreement.

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  • redwolfone Sep 2, 2011

    What we will see is higher power bills and no competition, because they will be able to put the squeez on and charge everyone more. Just watch!

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 2, 2011

    this is getting into 'too big to fail' territory. just as banks consolidated into megabanks, power companies also recognize this potential. and *savings*? well, that's for the merge. it's definitely not for the customer.
    turkeydance
    September 2, 2011 5:38 p.m.
    Ignore Report abuse
    your right, but think about all those share holder who may lose a little bit of money, (yet some are customer and will lose more than they gain).

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 2, 2011

    I'm confuse, (which ain't that hard to do) but I thought this was a done deal. Are they or are they not? If they are, then they be telling some untruth, because it's all about profit, if not why do it?

  • tgiv Sep 2, 2011

    I knew we'd get a number of insane triablistic propaganda points and we've heard from both sides already. What's causing this merger is a greedy power grab. Pure and simple. Power companies are monopolies and the social contract allows people to criticize them freely. Opposite your point, many people like Progress as much as any power company. What they don't like is an outside company taking over who provides higher costs for electricity, will reduce jobs in this area, and who is clearly bending the truth to get their way.

  • tgiv Sep 2, 2011

    There is no possible way that this merger is good for Raleigh, employment in this region, or Progress Energy customers. It's a great deal for the executives at the top who will see it rain huge bonuses, but for everyone else in this area its a loser. Therefore, I oppose the merger and hope that our business and political leaders will put the long term community interests above any short term considerations that are being dangled before them.

  • smcallah Sep 2, 2011

    "where are these money pumps?

    who are they trying to fool?"

    It's called payroll checks to the employees and property and business taxes.

    Who are YOU trying to fool?

  • vraptor Sep 2, 2011

    If you do not like their products or services. Then don't buy them. You can make your own electricity from a generator or that hamster on his running wheel. You can always move to another state or country where you like their utility companies.

    Could it be that you libs who do not want any new coal plants or nuke plants in NC that are causing this merger???

  • dk12 Sep 2, 2011

    what about current user of the Progress Energy demand system?
    what happens to the plan?
    I know we save 100's each month because we limit our peak energy.
    will this continue? if not..I'm against the merger!!
    if so..how will the plan improve to reduce my energy costs?
    reducing cost isn't what the merger is about?? the cost to consumers??
    if not..why is it being considered?? oh yet another example a bought gov't..in the land of the free and brave..

  • corey3rd Sep 2, 2011

    you can probably save $100 million by letting the CEO and the other weasels quit writing fat bonus checks for messing up.

  • ncpilot2 Sep 2, 2011

    To everyone that reads and believes all of what the company's PR machine says in this article: Please contact me, I have a lawn mower that no longer works but was used by Elvis AND JFK to personally mow their lawns. I'm willing to depart with it for only $2,000 if I know it's going to a good home.

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