Progress Energy 'evaluating' staffing levels, organization in N.C.

Citing sluggish economy, utility giant is cutting some 300 jobs in Florida. Progress ‘does not expect’ major changes in N.C.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN) is eliminating some 300 jobs in Florida and is “evaluating” staffing levels and its organization in North Carolina, the utility giant said Thursday.

Progress Energy Florida, a division of Progress, has been hammered by the slowing economy in Florida.

Of the 300 positions, more than 140 are already vacant, the company said.

In North Carolina, Progress Energy has not suffered as much from economic turmoil where the real estate markets have been more stable.

“The company is evaluating organizational structure and staffing levels in other functions and business units, including Progress Energy Carolinas,” Progress said in a statement. “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.”

Progress employs some 15,000 people.

In Florida, most of the affected positions are related to service expansion and support of new customers.

Between June 2007 and June of this year, Progress Energy Florida has added some 2,000 customers. “New connections have dropped off dramatically,” the company said.

"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 Chief Executive Officer Jeff Lyash in a statement. "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."

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