Charlotte-based Duke and Raleigh-based Progress had argued the merger would result in hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for customers, and would hold down rising electricity costs. The deal had won support from the state's consumer advocate, known as the Public Staff, as well as from environmental advocacy groups.
The agency said the companies' proposals to address monopoly concerns are vague, lack support, are riddled with flaws, and would not work. The feds said Duke and Progress still have the option of coming up with more alternatives to fix the problem.
The merger also requires approval by the N.C. Utilities Commission, but the commission had been waiting for the federal ruling before signing off on the deal. (News Observer, 12/14/2011)