Slowing Economy Prompts Job Reductions at Progress Energy Florida
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Aug. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Reflecting the state’s economic downturn, Progress Energy Florida today announced that it will eliminate about 300 positions by the end of the year. Nearly half the affected positions are currently vacant.
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The reductions are part of a restructuring of the utility’s Energy Delivery organization, as well as its processes and staffing, triggered by the ongoing economic slowdown, which has been particularly prevalent in Florida. Growth in Florida continues, but at a slower pace than in prior years. Energy use by the total customer base is also less than planned, due in part to an increase in the number of vacant houses. The Energy Delivery organization oversees the transmission and distribution of electricity from the plants to the customers’ homes and businesses, including customer service.
The restructuring and reductions come after a comprehensive assessment of current and projected workload to ensure that business operations are as efficient as possible. The reductions will affect managers, supervisors and workers in craft and technical positions, such as engineers and technicians. The company has eliminated 143 vacant positions and has identified 151 currently filled positions that will be eliminated before the end of the year. Most of the positions are directly involved in service expansion and support to new customers. New connections have dropped off dramatically, with about 2,000 new customers added between June 2007 and June 2008.
“The difficult economy is taking a toll on companies all around the country and is particularly affecting our company in Florida,” said Progress Energy Florida CEO and President Jeff Lyash. “Laying off employees is never our first choice. But we have a responsibility to ensure that our staffing and resources match our changing business needs. We are committed to moving through this process in a way that is sensitive to the needs of the employees affected and that ensures we can maintain a high level of service to our customers.”
The company is evaluating organizational structure and staffing levels in other functions and business units, including Progress Energy Carolinas, the Raleigh, N.C.-based utility. The economic downturn in the Carolinas has been less pronounced than in Florida, and the company does not expect to need to undergo major organizational changes in the Carolinas.
“Keeping our staffing levels aligned with our workload allows us to effectively manage our costs, keeping prices affordable for our customers and delivering on our financial commitments to our shareholders, who are our company’s main source of capital to invest in the future of the business,” said Michael Lewis, senior vice president for Energy Delivery in Florida. “This reduction in force will improve our flexibility as an organization and ensure that we continue to provide excellent customer service.”
The company will provide transitional support to employees whose jobs are eliminated. Some employees are expected to take positions in other company organizations.
Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy , provides electricity and related services to 1.7 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced strategy for a secure energy future. That balance includes aggressive energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit the company’s Web site at http://www.progress-energy.com/.
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CONTACT: Progress Energy Florida 24-hour media line, +1-866-520-6397
Web site: http://www.progress-energy.com/