The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has once again rejected the proposed merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy. The FERC said it cannot “unconditionally approve the merger until the applicants remedy the harmful effects on competition.”
The ruling is viewed as a disappointment by Duke and Progress, that had hoped regulators might approve the merger at their Thursday meeting in Washington, D.C.
Economist Roger Colton  believes the merger should not be permitted, unless programs are created to increase energy conservation and protect consumers against increased prices and electrical service cutoffs.
Colton appears this weekend on News & Views to discuss the “home energy affordability gap” and his recent testimony before the N.C. Utilities Commission about the proposed merger and Duke’s latest request for a rate hike.
Consumer advocates note that rising energy bills are a huge problem for low income families. An analysis by USA Today  released this week finds households paid a record $1,419 on average for electricity in 2010. That marks the fifth consecutive yearly increase that is above the rate of inflation.
To hear a portion of Colton’s radio interview, click below. To read the FERC’s statement rejecting the Duke-Progress merger, click here .