The North Carolina Utilities Commission approved the $32 billion merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy on June 29, 2012. Under the NC Utilities Commission order, the combined company will retain the name, Duke Energy and will be headquartered in Charlotte. Once combined Duke Energy and Progress Energy will be the world’s second-largest private utility, according to Duke Energy.
NEWS ALERT: NC Attorney General Launches Probe of Duke-Progress Merger In Wake of CEO Change. Click here to read the complete story.
Similarly, the NC Utilities Commission has scheduled an investigation and hearing on Tuesday, looking at why Duke Energy decided to replace CEO Bill Johnson with Duke's James Rogers. To read the Commission order, click here.
The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) intervened in the merger proceedings and requested that Duke Energy and Progress Energy be combined only on condition that the utilities take certain mitigation measures including:
- Create a third-party administered public fund that would complement existing utility energy efficiency programs and serve customers who have limited or no access to efficiency measures;
- Offer on-bill financing as a way to make energy efficiency measures accessible and affordable to residential customers who may not be able secure a loan to pay for efficiency improvements; and
- Implement a pilot program for the direct sale of renewable energy by third-parties to North Carolina consumers.
The Utilities Commission deemed that NCSEA’s recommendations were more appropriately raised and addressed in other proceedings or forums, like the North Carolina General Assembly. If another party appeals, NCSEA will evaluate its options for participation. But it is unlikely that NCSEA will initiate an appeal.
"With electricity rates still on the rise, NCSEA will continue to forge a path that will result in accessible, secure and affordable electricity generated by clean technologies and supported by energy efficiency measures,” said NCSEA Executive Director Ivan Urlaub. “NCSEA prides itself on being a collaborative partner and looks forward to continued work with all electricity service providers on how we regulate electricity and in the seamless integration of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures into the much-needed modernization of the grid.”
The Utilities Commission’s order did include several provisions related to renewable energy and energy efficiency. According to the order, the combined Duke Energy and Progress Energy must:
- Consider and propose for Utilities Commission approval as part of their demand-side management and energy efficiency programs specifically targeted to help low-income customers
- Contribute $2 million to NC GreenPower
- Contribute $10 million to low-income energy assistance program fund and $5 million to a community college workforce development grant fund — both of which will be administered by the Foundation for the Carolinas and the North Carolina Community Foundation
*The $17 million in total contributions cannot be charged to the combined utility’s regulated operations. Instead, the shareholders will bare the cost of the contributions.
The South Carolina’s utilities commission on July 2 unanimously approved a proposal by Progress Energy and Duke Energy to coordinate power plant operations. That final decision cleared the way for the merger.