Duke Energy and Progress Energy, two major utility companies in the nation, have proposed a merger to the Public Staff of the North Carolina Utilities Commission, and an agreement on the proposal was reached on September. The Macon County News reports that this potential merger would create the nation's largest utility company, serving approximately 7.1 million people.

If approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, the deal would require both Duke and Progress to share the resulting $650 million in fuel savings realized by combining operations with their customers in the five years following the merger.

According to each company's website, Duke Energy serves electricity and gas customers in Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina, while Progress Energy provides electricity and gas to customers in Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina.

The Public Staff has served as a consumer advocate during the negotiation process between these two electricity providers. The guaranteed savings for customers was a major selling point for the agency.

"Anything that saves the public over a billion dollars in savings is good," Public Staff attorney Gisele Rankin told the publication.