In order to achieve some operational and maintenance cost reduction now that the merger between Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) and Progress Energy is complete, approximately 1,400 employees will be leaving the company, 1,000 of them voluntarily and with severance packages. Half of the downsizing will occur in 2012 and the other half will be in 2013. The company still aims to increase earnings by 4%-6% both in 2012 and 2013, despite decreased demand, and also aims to increase its industry-leading dividend. It also would like to better place itself for coming EPA restrictions, and has closed 90 coal-fired units in order to reduce carbon emissions by up to 30%.

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