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Duke-Progress merger facing competition worries

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- The merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy to form the country's largest electric company is not getting the approval needed by federal regulators.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has scheduled a hearing on changes to the merger plans at its hearing Thursday in Washington. Regulators surprised the utilities late Wednesday by rejecting plans to alter the deal to satisfy fears the combined company would have too much of a grip on wholesale power markets in the Carolinas.

The federal agency said in September the companies should change merger details and suggested steps such as selling power plants. The companies proposed a different option by offering excess energy to wholesale buyers in their Carolinas territories.

Regulators now say the proposal by Charlotte-based Duke and Raleigh-based Progress doesn't go far enough.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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