RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Duke Energy Corp. says its electricity subsidiary for western North Carolina has a deal with a state regulatory division responsible for representing consumers.

The power company said Wednesday it agreed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission's Public Staff to take less than half of the rate increase it requested in February.

The settlement would allow Duke Energy Carolinas to raise rates by $205 million each of the first two years, increasing to $235 million after the third year.

The announcement comes about two weeks after regulators approved a 7.5 percent average increase over two years for about 1.3 million customers of the former Progress Energy. The electricity provider for much of eastern North Carolina is a subsidiary of Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp., the country's largest electricity company.

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