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Feds’ questions delay sale of Duke Energy plants in Midwest

Questions by a federal regulator will delay Duke Energy’s $2.8 billion sale of 10 commercial power plants in the Midwest, Duke said in a securities filing Tuesday.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, whose approval is the final step in the sale to Houston-based Dynegy, last week asked for more economic analysis of the deal.

FERC wants analysis of the market power Dynegy would achieve in buying the Duke power plants as it also buys 10 plants for $3.5 billion from the private equity firm Energy Capital Partners.

Duke’s plants and some of those owned by Energy Capital Partners are in the PJM wholesale power market.

The federal agency also wants to know how Dynegy customers will be protected from rate hikes after the Duke acquisition.

Duke and Dynegy will respond to FERC within 30 days, Duke said in the filing. The companies had forecast a closing date by February when they announced the sale last August.

“As a result of this additional request of FERC, the parties do not expect the transaction to close by the end of the first quarter of 2015 but remain committed to closing the transaction as quickly as possible,” the filing said.

Spokesman Tom Williams said Duke is “certainly still optimistic that it will close.”

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