The Latest: Duke Energy CEO says merger hinged on gas growth


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on North Carolina regulators considering whether to approve Duke Energy Corp.’s purchase of Piedmont Natural Gas Co. (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

The heads of Duke Energy Corp. and Piedmont Natural Gas Co. say their merger will create a bigger company with the financial resources to expand the distribution of natural gas across the country.

Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good told North Carolina utilities regulators Monday her company’s $5 billion buyout could speed the shift away from coal-burning electric power plants to cleaner-burning natural gas.

Duke Energy already is the country’s largest electric company with more than 7 million customers. Its acquisition comes as power companies are increasingly switching from burning coal to natural gas to generate electricity. They’re buying suppliers to control costs.

The companies were already working together to build a pipeline to deliver natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina when Duke announced its planned purchase last fall.

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12:25 p.m.

The heads of Duke Energy Corp. and Piedmont Natural Gas Co. are on the witness stand as they explain why North Carolina regulators should approve their merger.

Duke’s proposal to buy its fellow Charlotte-based company for about $5 billion comes as power companies are increasingly switching from burning coal to natural gas to generate electricity. They’re buying suppliers to control costs.

The state Utilities Commission on Monday hears Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good and Piedmont Natural Gas head Thomas Skains defend their plan.

The companies were already working together to build a pipeline to deliver natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina when Duke announced its planned purchase last fall.

Piedmont has customers across most of North Carolina; around Nashville, Tennessee; and around Spartanburg, South Carolina.

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