The North Carolina Utilities Commission has approved the proposed $7.7-billion merger of Duke Power Co. and Houston-based PanEnergy Corp. to form Duke Energy Corp., subject to conditions designed to protect North Carolina ratepayers from potential adverse effects.
The commission said the merger must ensure that ratepayers of the new company receive no fewer benefits than ratepayers in other jurisdictions.
The conditions include provisions capping Duke's base retail electric rates at existing levels through 2000 with limited exceptions, prohibiting the recovery of merger costs from Duke's North Carolina retail ratepayers, and requiring Duke to take steps to further its commitment to providing superior electric services to its customers.
If approved by other regulatory agencies, PanEnergy would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Duke, and former PanEnergy shareholders would become Duke shareholders. The South Carolina PSC approved the merger in March. Shareholders and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission still have to approve the merger. t
Lori A. Burkhart is an associate legal editor with PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.
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