Utilities commission holds final hearing on Duke-Progress merger
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RALEIGH -- The final hearing on the proposed merger between Duke and Progress Energy was also the last day for opponents of the proposed merger to present evidence. Only two people testified during the hearing Monday, taking questions from lawyers with the group North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network. Among the questions asked was about the claim that the merge would save $650 million by combining jobs.
"That $650 million will be split amongst the jurisdictions of North Carolina, South Carolina. And then there will be an allocation of the North Carolina portion amongst the different customer classes," said Progress Energy Fuels and Power Optimization Vice President Sasha Weintraub.
NC WARN, as they're also known, has been very outspoken against the proposed merger, fearing combining the two companies would cause some customers to pay higher rates.
"It's really unfortunate that some big customers get sweetheart deals and families and small businesses get to pay for the extra in rate hike. It's not the way North Carolina needs to be operating," said NC WARN Executive Director Jim Warren.
But after Monday's hearing, the company seemed pleased to complete what they feel is the final hurdle.
"We're confident that the benefits outweigh the costs to the customers in North Carolina, South Carolina," said Progress Energy spokesperson Scott Sutton.
Both companies have set a July 1 date to complete the merger but they actually have until July 8 to complete the sale. The fate of the merger now lies in the hands of the state's utilities commission.