The employee was performing maintenance on one of the plants three coal-fired units. The unit was offline at the time.
The company is coordinating an investigation into the accident with local, state and federal officials and will communicate more details as they become available.
There was no fire as a result of the explosion, and there is no danger to the public.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family right now, said Charlie Gates, vice-president of Power Generation for Progress Energy Carolinas. We also have lost a member of our Progress Energy family due to this tragic event. This is a difficult time for all of us.
The 600-megawatt MW Sutton Plant includes three coal units built in 1954, 1955 and 1972. The explosion occurred while work was being performed on the generator for Unit 1.
In 2009, Progress Energy announced its plan to retire the Sutton Plants three coal-fired units and build a 620-MW combined-cycle power plant at the Sutton site.
The new plant is scheduled to begin operating in 2014. Site preparations have started, but major construction has not begun.