Duke Energy on Monday accepted an order from the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) approving Duke Energy’s planned merger with Cinergy. Duke and Cinergy plan to close the merger on April 1.

In an order issued March 24, the NCUC substantially accepted, and modified in part, an agreement previously reached between Duke Energy and the North Carolina public staff to resolve all relevant issues related to the commission’s merger review (see Daily GPI, March 27).

“With the merger action in North Carolina, we have cleared the last hurdle in the regulatory approval process,” said Paul Anderson, chairman of the board of Duke. “With all requisite approvals in hand, we intend to close on April 1, less than 11 months from our merger announcement.”

Duke said that key aspects of the agreement approved by the NCUC include:

The NCUC order also approves a set of regulatory conditions intended to preserve the commission’s jurisdiction and to protect North Carolina customers, Duke noted.

The merger, announced May 9, 2005, was approved by both companies’ shareholders on March 10 and has been approved by regulators in Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina, Indiana and North Carolina and, at the federal level, by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The companies also have satisfied Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice review under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

Upon closing, the companies’ existing electric and gas utilities — Duke Power in North Carolina and South Carolina; PSI Energy in Indiana; Cincinnati Gas & Electric in Ohio; and Union Light, Heat and Power in Kentucky — will all do business using the Duke Energy name.

Anderson will become chairman of the board of the new Duke Energy. James Rogers, currently chairman and chief executive officer of Cinergy, will be president and chief executive officer.

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