Piedmont Natural Gas receives NCUC approval to purchase NCNG and EasternNC from Progress Energy

CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 11, 2003 — The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has approved Piedmont Natural Gas’ plans to purchase North Carolina Natural Gas Corp. (NCNG) for $417.5 million.

NCNG, a natural gas distribution subsidiary of Progress Energy, Inc., serves approximately 178,000 natural gas customers in eastern and southern North Carolina, including approximately 56,000 customers served by municipalities that are wholesale customers of NCNG.

The purchase of NCNG will increase Piedmont’s number of customers served to more than 918,000 in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The NCUC also approved Piedmont’s purchase of Progress’ equity interest in Eastern North Carolina Natural Gas Co. (EasternNC) for $7.5 million.

EasternNC is a joint venture with the Albemarle Pamlico Economic Development Corporation (APEC) to bring natural gas service to 14 counties in eastern North Carolina.

The closing of the two acquisitions is still subject to the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and to various conditions set forth in the relevant agreements among the parties. Piedmont currently expects that the SEC approval will be obtained and that all conditions will be met in time for a closing at the end of July or the end of August.

“We are pleased that the NCUC has expedited its review and approval of this transaction and has found it to be in the public’s interest,” commented Piedmont’s President and CEO Thomas E. Skains. “We are now one step closer to extending the reach of our natural gas distribution system across the state of North Carolina from the mountains to the coast.”

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