Employees at Duke Energy and Progress Energy will start receiving information next week to help them decide whether they should take a voluntary departure with guaranteed severance payments or risk getting laid off when the two utilities merge.
The two North Carolina power companies notified about 29,000 employees that the window to decide whether to leave or stay will be between Nov. 1 and Nov. 22. The workers could learn as early as December whether their request to leave has been approved.
The process gets underway next week, when employees will begin receiving information about the eligibility rules for the voluntary separation plan. Additional details will be provided Oct. 24 to employees who are eligible to participate.
Charlotte-based Duke and Raleigh-based Progress said they plan to eliminate about 2,000 positions between the two companies. Progress will cut between 700 to 1,000 positions at its Raleigh headquarters, eliminating up to half its downtown staff.
The staff reduction schedule provided to workers today sticks to a previously established timetable, even though delays appears inevitable.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Friday the companies must revise their merger proposal if it is to be approved.
The revisions could take several months to work their way through the system until the FERC has sufficient information to issue a final ruling. At that point, if the terms and economics of the merger are substantially altered, the N.C. Utilities Commission would decide whether to reopen the case and hold another round of public hearings, which could further delay the merger that both companies had hoped to finalize by the end of this year.
South Carolina's consumer advocate on Tuesday asked regulators in that state to suspend proceedings until the FERC matter is resolved.
The FERC said Friday the merger as proposed raises systematic and severe market control concerns. The agency suggested the companies sell off power plants, set aside blocks of power for wholesale customers, or cede control of their transmission system to an independent operator.