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CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) — Duke Energy and Progress Energy are taking a third stab at a deal that would create the largest U.S. electric company, offering to spend up to $150 million to reduce competition concerns.

The utilities say they’ll build more transmission lines to bring more wholesale electricity into the Carolinas and sign contracts selling power to other electric utilities and cooperatives.

The companies plan to complete their deal by the end of last year was upset when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said the companies haven’t done enough to protect competition in their North Carolina and South Carolina home markets.

The costs of the new merger plan could require North Carolina regulators to reopen their review to decide whether electricity customers or company shareholders will pay.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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