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Shareholders set to vote on Duke-Progress merger


CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) -- Shareholders of North Carolina's two largest utilities are voting on whether to merge the two electric companies into the country's largest utility.

Charlotte-based Duke Energy and Raleigh-based Progress Energy are expected to announce the results of Tuesday's voting a few hours after ballots are cast.

The deal announced in January would create a company with more than 7 million customers in the Carolinas, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Florida. Kentucky recently granted conditional approval for the deal.

The big hurdles still ahead of the merger appear to be North Carolina utilities regulators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. State regulators have scheduled hearings for next month. A decision from the federal agency is expected this fall.

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

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