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Duke-Progress merger to cost at least 700 Raleigh jobs

Posted September 1, 2011

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— Progress Energy will shift 700 to 1,000 jobs from Raleigh once its merger with Duke Energy is complete, officials said Thursday.

The Raleigh-based utility announced in January that it would merge with Charlotte-based Duke and shift its headquarters to the Queen City. Shareholders of both companies last week approved the $35 billion deal, which still must be approved by state and federal regulators.

After the merger, the utility will have 1,000 to 1,300 people working in downtown Raleigh, compared with about 2,000 now, company officials told employees Thursday.

The North Carolina utility president will remain in Raleigh, as will some positions that support regional assets and customers, spokesman Mike Hughes said. Those positions might include transmission, distribution and customer operations, nuclear engineering, fossil-fuels engineering, information technology, human resources and communications.

"I'm one of many employees who are trying to understand the information and who are waiting for additional information," Hughes said.

Executives John McArthur, who oversees regulated utilities, and Lloyd Yates, who heads customer operations, will have offices in both Raleigh and Charlotte, Hughes said.

Management of existing major projects for Progress Energy, such as gas-fired power plants planned or under construction, will remain in Raleigh at least until they are completed, he said.

A Duke Energy truck Duke-Progress merger will cost Raleigh jobs

Eligibility for the severance program is still being determined, he said, so it's too early to determine how many people will take buyouts.

"We're expecting the transition period to be a period of many months, if not a couple of years," Hughes said. "Many of these things will be determined based on business need. Even employees who elect to leave through the voluntary severance program that's going to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis based on the needs of the company."

Employees were notified of the job cuts on Thursday in a company e-mail.

Progress Energy has subleased the Two Progress Plaza building in downtown Raleigh to software developer Red Hat, which plans to move its headquarters there from North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus.

"We’ve been a catalyst in the rejuvenation of downtown Raleigh, and we will continue to be," Hughes said. "We have worked very aggressively to recruit Red Hat to sublease our downtown building because we know how important those jobs and investment are to downtown’s continued success."

Debbie Holt, who owns Clyde Cooper's BBQ in downtown Raleigh, said she is going to miss the employees from Progress Energy who drop by for lunch. 

"You build a lot of relationships, and they come and eat with us a lot," Holt said. "We have people that with Progress Energy eat with us three to four times a week." 

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  • WooHoo2You Sep 2, 2011

    But everyone on Golo was saying mergers magically create jobs and were pushing for the AT&T / T-Mobile deal. Makes you just wonder... WooHoo2You"

    No, that's an obama plan. Also, why aren't the union people crying about losing jobs to another company expansion somewhere else? lol-gunny462

    "Union?!?" Why do you bring up unions in EVERY story? Look past the talking points...

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 2, 2011

    And people wonder why the unemployment rate isn't getting better. They try to blame it on this party or that party but the real blame lies with business itself.
    kenshi
    GOLO member since October 27, 2007
    September 2, 2011 12:37 p.m.
    Ignore Report abuse
    Ding, Ding, Ding, We have a winner here...

  • gunny462 Sep 2, 2011

    "But everyone on Golo was saying mergers magically create jobs and were pushing for the AT&T / T-Mobile deal. Makes you just wonder... WooHoo2You"

    No, that's an obama plan. Also, why aren't the union people crying about losing jobs to another company expansion somewhere else? lol

  • WooHoo2You Sep 2, 2011

    WELL WHAT A SURPRISE. WELL PURDUE HEAR YOU GO MORE UNEMPLOYED VOTERS.-barbstillkickin

    How is this Purdue's fault? She caused Irene too, right?

  • barbstillkickin Sep 2, 2011

    WELL WHAT A SURPRISE. WELL PURDUE HEAR YOU GO MORE UNEMPLOYED VOTERS. WHEN WILL IT END. I CAN NOT TAKE MUCH MORE SEEING OUR HARD WORKING CITIZENS LOSING JOBS AND SHE CLAIMS SHE IS ADDING MORE JOBS TO THIS STATE. (WHERE AT PURDUE) MAYBE IN YOUR HOME AS YOUR SERVANTS. PLEASE GET A GRIP WE ARE NOT CHILDREN AND KNOW WHAT YOU ARE UP TO. NOTHING.

  • discowhale Sep 2, 2011

    I think some of you missed the point of INCREASES.

    IF Company A buys Company B, Co A lays off 700 people thus saving salaries and benefit costs, Co A now owns ALL the equipment of both companies, all this done at no cost other than the buy out, WHY is there an increase?

    Because the guys running said buy out ONLY did it FOR that extra money involved!!! Duke Power is NOT looking to make YOUR life better. They are looking to make THEIR lives better!!

    And NO not all businesses do this!!

    Do you HAVE to shop at Wal-Mart? Or Kroger? Or eat at McD's? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! You can chose where to do that all day long!!

    Try choosing you utilities providers! As I said, going off the grid gets more tempting ev-REE-day

  • WooHoo2You Sep 2, 2011

    But everyone on Golo was saying mergers magically create jobs and were pushing for the AT&T / T-Mobile deal. Makes you just wonder...

  • kimisufu Sep 2, 2011

    Some jobs will be 'shifted' to Charlotte, i.e. the downtown Raleigh jobs, and some line and service and operations support jobs will be 'shifted' to another position in their current area. However, many of the L&S and operations jobs will be lost because Duke likes to contract out just about everything. Bad news all around.

  • kenshi Sep 2, 2011

    And people wonder why the unemployment rate isn't getting better. They try to blame it on this party or that party but the real blame lies with business itself.

  • Gork Sep 2, 2011

    Do you really believe this has ANYTHING to do with customer service or anything else except shareholder return and executive nest feathering? If they can increase profits and peoples' lights also stay on fine - trust me, if they could increase profits and it meant peoples' lights went out, that's what would happen. Letting people go - that's not even a consideration, those are just human resources, not families with kids who will be uprooted from schools, etc. etc.

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