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Duke Proposes Cost Plus 10% Power Sales to Ease Market Concern

Duke Energy Corp. offered to sell some electricity at its cost plus 10 percent to ease regulatory concern about competition in wholesale power markets from its $15.3 billion purchase of Progress Energy Inc.

Duke, based in Charlotte, proposed a so-called virtual divestiture of power capacity in a filing today with the North Carolina Utilities commission.

Duke proposes to sell 800 megawatt-hours of cost-plus power from June 1 to Aug. 31 for eight years. It would sell 225 megawatt-hours of cost-plus power from Dec. 1 to the end of February.

“I think this is going to be enough to satisfy FERC,” Angie Storozynski, a utility analyst for Macquarie Capital USA Inc. in New York, said in a telephone interview.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in an order issued Sept. 30 that the transaction may have “an adverse effect on competition.” To prevent the combined company from being able to manipulate electricity prices in North and South Carolina, the commission suggested selling plants and some power under long-term agreements, building new transmission lines or letting a third party operate the company’s grid.

A more detailed proposal will be filed with the federal commission, Duke spokesman Tom Williams said today in an interview.

Duke rose 1 percent to $19.79 at the close in New York. Progress, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, rose 0.7 percent to $50.38.

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