RALEIGH, N.C. -

A North Carolina appeals court has upheld the regulatory decisions that made Duke Energy Corp. the country's largest electric company.
 
A three-member panel of the state Court of Appeals Tuesday upheld the 2012 decision by the North Carolina Utilities Commission that approved Duke Energy's purchase of Progress Energy, with some stipulations.
 
The advocacy group NC WARN challenged the commission's decision, arguing the panel did not fully consider the acquisition's impact on consumers. But the judges ruled unanimously the commission was not wrong in determining the deal was justified and supported by evidence. A challenge by the city of Orangeburg, S.C., also was thrown out.
 
Charlotte-based Duke Energy serves 7 million customers in the Carolinas and four other states. It's the largest U.S. utility based on customers and market value.