Opponents to speak out against Duke-Progress merger
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RALEIGH -- Monday is the last chance for opponents to state their case about the upcoming merger between Duke and Progress Energy. An environmental group is asking federal regulators to take a closer look at the agreement between the two companies in a public hearing. They say the two utilities have hidden missions of dollars in costs that will ultimately raise utility rates.
The NC Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, or NC Warn, is contesting the merger at the sake of North Carolina families and small businesses. They're attempting to shed light on the energy companies and the alleged "confidential deals" between top corporations.
NC Warn calls themselves a watchdog group of utility practice. They're worried about the so-called "secret deals" Progress and Duke have made with about 15 large customers to have them support the merger. NC Warn believes those agreements come at the expense of smaller customers who would ultimately have to foot the bill and pay higher rates.
Now, NC Warn is asking the commission to force Duke and Progress to unveil the deals to the public.
"The merger is supposed to be and required by law to be something that benefits the public in North Carolina and we are concerned that all these secret deals that Duke and Progress have cut erode any public benefits that otherwise might be in place," said Jim Warren, the executive director of NC Warn.
The utilities say the merger will save $650 million by combining jobs. They have until July 8 to complete the sale which would create the nation's largest electric utility
Monday's public hearing is set for 2 p.m. Monday.