Duke, Progress revise merger plan, promise savings

Posted May 8, 2012 6:15 p.m. EDT
Updated May 8, 2012 6:41 p.m. EDT

— In updated paperwork filed Tuesday with the North Carolina Utilities Commission, Progress Energy and Duke Energy guaranteed their proposed merger would save customers money. They also agreed not the pass along costs from the merger to their retail customers.

"This agreement is an important milestone to move the merger process forward," Jim Rogers, chairman, president and CEO of Duke Energy, said in a statement.

Duke (NYSE: DUK) and Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN) proposed the $35 billion deal, which would make the combined company the nation’s largest utility, last summer.

Since that time, concerns about lost jobs and a loss of competition have the merger on hold. At a minimum, Progress said it would move 700 jobs from the current Raleigh headquarters to Charlotte. In December, a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission review of the merger plan cited "harmful effects on competition."

In Tuesday's filing, the companies promised to reduce retail rates by $70 million and to swallow any costs for severance pay for those who lose their jobs. 

Approval is back in the hands of the FERC, and the companies have asked for a decision by June 8 with hopes of closing the deal by July 1.