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Progress Energy shareholders overwhelmingly approved the power company's $26 billion merger with Duke Energy this morning in Raleigh, just an hour after Duke shareholders gave their assent in Charlotte.

The merger creates the nation's largest electric utility with 7.1 million customers in six states. Both electric utilities have promoted the deal for months as the best way to create the financial heft required to build new nuclear plants, upgrade transmission systems and comply with stricter environmental regulations. (News Observer, 8/23/2011)