New Bern says federal regulators uphold many of their concerns with the proposed merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy.
In an news release, Mayor Lee Bettis says the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order late Friday upholding many of the city's concerns because of possible adverse effects on competition.
The FERC says without appropriate mitigation, the merger between the two utilities can be expected to have effects on competition in both Duke Energy Carolinas Balancing Authority Area and in Progress Energy Carolinas-East BAA. The FERC says mitigation measures might include selling power plants, building new transmission lines, or giving up control of their transmission system to a regional operator.
“New Bern is relieved and gratified that the federal agency charged with protecting wholesale power markets has agreed with many of the concerns and objections we raised with respect to the proposed merger," says Bettis. "After many months of having everything from our sanity to our integrity questioned by the merging companies and even by some of our colleagues in other North Carolina municipal utilities, it is a relief to be able to look forward to meaningful mitigation of the threat that this merger posed to desperately needed competition in the wholesale bulk power market in eastern North Carolina.”
New Bern, along with many other cities with municipal power systems, purchases its electricity from Progress Energy.
Executives of the two companies say they'll need only about two weeks to address regulators' concerns.
Bettis says the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency, an agency representing the 32 municipal electric utilities in eastern Carolina, had earlier filed statements with the FERC opposing New Bern's position.