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NC group challenges Duke Energy merger settlement

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A clean-energy advocacy group is asking a North Carolina appeals court to reopen a probe into whether Duke Energy misled state regulators before a merger that made it the country's largest electric company.

The state Court of Appeals plans closed-door discussions Wednesday into the legal challenge by the group NC WARN. The group says last year's settlement closing a North Carolina Utilities Commission investigation should be reconsidered.

The state regulator investigated Duke Energy after it rushed to complete the Charlotte-based company's merger with Raleigh's Progress Energy ahead of a deadline.

Duke Energy shocked investors and consumers by quickly firing Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson, who was supposed to head the combined company. The surprise CEO switch prompted shareholder lawsuits and led to consumers accusing the commission of being duped.

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