Over 1,100 employees at Progress Energy and Duke Energy have volunteered for an early out program as the companies look to cut nearly 1,900 positions in anticipation of their planned merger.
The greatest number of those who came forward work in North Carolina, where Progress plans to eliminate its corporate headquarters when it consolidates operation with Duke in Charlotte.
That means Duke and Progress will still have to eliminate several hundred more jobs through a combination of layoffs, retirements and resignations. The staff cuts will take place over the next three years as the company seeks to eliminate a total of 1,860 positions during that time.
Most of the staff cuts will come through the voluntary buyout program offered several weeks ago at the two North Carolina electric companies. They said today that 1,153 workers have signed up to leave as part of a voluntary buyout program. They will be paid a severance based on the length of their tenure with the companies.
Progress accounted for 666 of the volunteers, a total that includes 508 workers in North Carolina, mostly in Raleigh. Progress has said it plans to eliminate 700 to 1,000 jobs in Raleigh as part of discontinuing its headquarters here, so the voluntary buyouts won't be sufficient to meet that goal.
Duke accounted for 487 workers, including 307 from Charlotte.
Several hundred works have already left the two companies in the past 11 months, mostly before the buyout program was offered. The more workers leave on their own, the fewer people the companies will have to lay off, but some layoffs are expected.