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PG&E; to Cut Up to 3,000 More Jobs : Energy: Utility says move will help it compete against expected new breed of providers.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Hard on the heels of massive job cuts last year, supervisors at Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the big San Francisco-based utility, told employees Tuesday that another 2,500 to 3,000 jobs will be slashed beginning in the fall.

Like other California utilities, PG&E; is cutting costs to become competitive with new electricity providers that are expected to enter the fray under free-market reforms proposed by the state Public Utilities Commission.

The company said it expects most of this quota to be met by voluntary severance, spurred by enhanced incentives that have yet to be announced. It projects annual labor savings of $150 million to $185 million when the cuts are completed.

About 1,500 of the cuts will be made in the utility’s Customer Energy Services unit, which now employees 14,000. Another 800 jobs will be eliminated at power plants and in administration. With more cuts to be announced in the next few weeks, the total work force will be reduced to 20,000.

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In February, 1993, the utility announced a companywide restructuring that resulted in the elimination of 3,000 jobs by the end of that year.

On Aug. 23, PG&E; Chief Executive Stanley T. Skinner announced cost-cutting measures ranging from an employee wage freeze to a 5% cut in pay for himself and PG&E; Chairman Richard A. Clarke.

“I’m really concerned,” said Audrie Krause, executive director of Toward Utility Rate Normalization, a consumer advocacy group in San Francisco, who complained that the utility is cutting too many service jobs and not enough higher-ranking positions.

“Instead of getting rid of those folks, they’re getting rid of people who actually give service to consumers,” Krause said.

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She also said PG&E; could become more competitive by closing its Diablo Canyon nuclear facility and cutting staff attorneys and lobbyists.


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