While the deal would also reduce Duke's portfolio exposure to the de-regulated market -- an advantage if prices remain where they are today -- the management teams at Duke and Progress Energy are betting on the deal being a strategic positive in terms of driving cost savings in the Carolinas and Florida.

More M&A in the utility sector isn't unlikely. "Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers has said throughout his career that there is consolidation opportunity in the sector, and he's made it a career strategy to consolidate, and we will see further consolidation," Morningstar's Miller said.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see more deals given the level of growth investment required, from improving wire infrastructure to improving transmission grids, adding smart grid and, at the level of generation, converting the fleet from older emissions-intensive coal plants to cleaner burning more efficient plants," the Morningstar analyst said.

-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.

RELATED STORIES:

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Eric Rosenbaum.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to Eric Rosenbaum.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

If you liked this article you might like

Why the Boardroom Doesn't Need Ivy League Degrees

South Carolina-Owned Santee Cooper Receives Acquisition Interest

What Happened to American Society Is Happening to the Stock Market, Too: Market Recon

Tesla Is Electric - 5 Things You Must Know Before the Market Opens Thursday

Tesla and Apple Better Deliver Big-Time or Look Out Below -- Week Ahead