RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy Progress has agreed to purchase the generating capacity of ElectriCities in a $1.2 billion deal expected to translate into lower power bills for thousands of eastern North Carolina residents.
Duke announced its deal Monday with the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency, which includes 32 towns in the eastern part of the state. Formed in 1978, the regional power agency has 270,000 retail customers and is managed by ElectriCities of North Carolina, headquartered in Raleigh.
Businesses and residents in the communities served by ElectriCities have long been paying hundreds of dollars more a year for electricity to help service massive debt owed by the power agency, which decades ago bought shares in the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant near Raleigh and three other facilities.
By selling its shares of the plants back to Duke-Progress, ElectriCities can eliminate 70 percent of its $1.9 billion in outstanding debt. The N.C. Utilities Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must still sign off on the deal.
"Reducing (our) debt and therefore reducing our overall costs will provide the opportunity for more competitive rates in the 32 member communities," said Richard Hicks, ElectriCities Board Chairman. "Although we have a long road ahead of us with regulatory approvals, today is a good day for N.C. Public Power and eastern North Carolina."
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