Dominion to cut 1,200 employees. Retirements could cost utility up to $16 million

Dominion to cut 1,200 employees. Retirements could cost utility up to $16 million

Lexington County Chronicle
April 4, 2019

by Jerry Bellune

Dominion Energy’s job cuts will be twice what was earlier projected.

The Virginia utility is offering voluntary retirement to nearly 1/3rd of its workers.

More than 1,200 work in Lexington County, according to The State newspaper.

The buyouts could cost Dominion up to $16 million if all 1,200 workers take it.

The Chronicle has asked Dominion to confirm the report and retirement details.

Most employees live here and work for SC Electric & Gas in Dominion’s new Southeastern Energy Group.

Dominion spokesman Ryan Frazier told The State he would not say how many employees the company hopes to shed. They have until April 16 to decide to accept the buyouts.

What could happen to those who do not accept was not made clear.

“What would happen if all 1,200 took the offer?” asked Frank Knapp, SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce CEO and a close observer of the Dominion takeover.

“Would they be replaced with less costly employees or not replaced?” he asked.

Frazier said, “Any merger [the SCE&G takeover] gives you a chance to reset, especially when you’re adding 5,000 employees.”

Before Dominion’s $14 billion takeover in January, it said some employees – especially white-collar employees – could be laid off or given incentives to retire.

Dominion CEO Tom Farrell promised there would not be “significant layoffs” and said some employees would be considered for other jobs.

But the company would not say how many employees would lose their jobs.

Experts told the Public Service Commission to expect 600 employees to go.

The retirement offer is worth up to 14 months pay, depending on the employee’s number of years with the company, Frazier reportedly said. They were offered to employees who are older than 55 and have worked for SCE&G for 3 years.

This includes 2 months pay, plus 3 weeks pay for every year they worked at SCE&G but not more than 14 months pay.

“Participation is entirely voluntary, and every employee’s circumstance is unique,” Farrell wrote in a letter to about 21,000 employees.