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Kentucky regulators approved Duke Energy Corp.’s proposed $9.1 billion acquisition of Cinergy Corp. Tuesday making Kentucky the second to sign off among five states that must approve the deal. The Kentucky Public Service Commission accepted an agreement the companies reached with Kentucky’s attorney general and Kroger Co., a major customer of Cinergy subsidiary Union Light, Heat and Power Co. ULH&P’s 145,000 customers in northern Kentucky will receive credits of at least $7.6 million over five years after the merger closes. Electric customers will receive about $1.3 million a year during that period, while natural gas customers will receive about $183,000 a year, the utilities said in a release. Cincinnati-based Cinergy will also share profits from off system with Kentucky customers, ensuring a minimum of $1.45 million in shared profits in 2006, the companies said. In approving the merger, the PSC decided that North Carolina-based Duke had met the statutory requirement of demonstrating that it has the technical, managerial and financial expertise to manage ULH&P, and that the merger would be in the public interest. South Carolina was the first state to approve the merger after Duke agreed in October to cut its rates by $40 million, or 4 percent, in the first year following the deal’s closing. The Public Service Commission of South Carolina also agreed to let Duke amortize the $40 million over five years. Regulators in North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana, however, must still approve the merger. Industry observers expect the deal to face its toughest critics in Ohio, where the majority of the merger-related job losses are expected. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Nuclear Regulatory Commission still must approve it. Duke and Cinergy hope to close it in the first half of 2006. Copyright �2005 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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