Progress Energy could eliminate as much as half its downtown Raleigh workforce as part of the company's merger with Duke Energy.
The Raleigh-based electric utility today updated workers to expect its downtown staff to end up between 1,000 and 1,300 employees, down from about 2,000 today. The job cuts will come through voluntary buyouts, attrition, retirements and layoffs over several years, as well as from Raleigh employees relocating to Charlotte.
The corporate merger, announced in January, will create the country's biggest electric utility with 7.1 million customers in six states. The combined company will be headquartered in Charlotte.
Under the merger terms, Progress promised to keep a "substantial presence" in Raleigh. The company will keep a number of key positions here, including N.C. utility president, two senior executives over regulated utilities and customer operations and functions that could include transmission, nuclear engineering, fossil fuel engineering, human resources, communications and IT support.
As a result of the sizable workforce reduction in Raleigh, Progress will shrink its real estate needs from two downtown office towers to one building, leasing the other to Red Hat, the Raleigh software company.
"We know that our employees are hungry for information," Progress spokesman Mike Hughes said. "This has been a stressful time for many employees, because of the uncertainty about how many jobs will be affected. We’re trying to provide updates as decisions are made."