By John Murawski
The N.C. Utilities Commission said Tuesday that it wants all merger paperwork submitted within a week to give itself several weeks to decide on the proposed mega-merger between Progress Energy and Duke Energy.
In setting an accelerated schedule to consider approving the formation of the nation’s largest utility, the Utilities Commission is honoring a request from the two power companies for a prompt ruling on their $26 billion deal.
Raleigh-based Progress and Charlotte-based Duke will make their case Wednesday that the merger should be summarily approved without further reviews or hearings. The two electric utilities are racing to get the deal closed by July 8, the date their termination agreement expires when each could walk away from the deal without paying hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties.
But their hope is to get it done by July 1 if possible, as a matter of convenience.
But at least one merger critic – Jim Warren, executive director of the Durham-based N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network – suggested the eagerness of the N.C. Utilities Commission to accommodate the two Fortune 500 corporations is disconcerting.
“By anyone’s measure, that’s a pretty truncated schedule for such a complex process,” Warren said. “The commission is working a little too hard to accommodate the utilities’ schedule.”