North Carolina Power & Light to buy Florida Progress in $5.3 billion deal

Nov 14, 2000 (Thomson Financial Media)—Carolina Power & Light has been given the go-ahead by the North Carolina Utilities Commission to acquire Florida Progress for $5.3 billion in the fall.

The acquisition will make CP&L the 10th largest energy provider in the country and could mean lower rates for customers. The trickle-down effects of the merger will be particularly interesting in North Carolina, where the debate on the best way to deregulate the electric utility market continues. Carolina Power and Duke Power Co. have offered proposals to help the state get over the biggest obstacle to deregulation — how to best deal with the $5.5 billion of debt that has been amassed by the state's municipal power agencies.

The fear is that if the debt is not defeased properly, customers won't see the real benefits of deregulation — such as lower rates — because the burden of paying off the debt will be passed on to them.

The study commission that has been examining the issue will meet in September to further discuss how to get deregulation legislation introduced in the upcoming 2001 session. Copyright c 2000 Thomson Financial Municipals Group. All Rights Reserved. http://www.bondbuyer.comThomson Financial is a leading worldwide provider of e-information. To subscribe or see more: www.thomsonfinancial.com.

Copyright, Thomson Financial, [2000] All Rights Reserved.

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