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%.
As the nation moves increasingly toward clean energy, one company in this space that is perfectly positioned to capitalize on having the largest nuclear fleet in North America is Exelon. This strength combined with an increased focus on renewable energy, along with its recent merger with Constellation, puts Exelon and its best-in-class dividend on a short list of top utilities. To determine if Exelon is a good long-term fit for your portfolio, you're invited to check out The Motley Fool's premium research report on the company. Simply click here now for instant access.