Entergy Louisiana job cuts focus on management positions

The head of Entergy’s Louisiana subsidiaries told state regulators Wednesday that the company’s restructuring is focused on management-level employees and the layoffs eventually should translate into a $250 million savings, much of which will go to lowering customers bills.

“Those folks who pick up the wire and ensure that lights come back on won’t be affected by this,” Phillip R. May testified Wednesday before the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

“Now, the folks way up the line that they may report to, they may be affected,” he said.

Seventeen percent of the expected layoffs — about 81 of 179 working for regulated utility companies — are managerial-level employees, said May, president and chief executive officer of Entergy Gulf States Louisiana LLC and Entergy Louisiana LLC.

Entergy Corp. announced Tuesday it would eliminate about 800 positions in hopes of streamlining the company that sells power to homes, businesses and industrial plants in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, as well as operates a string of nuclear power plants, mostly in the northeast United States.

May told commissioners the corporation is redesigning itself without preconceived notions, but focusing on efficiency.

“When we did that we came up 800 less boxes to fill,” May said.

Now company officials are filling those positions, or boxes, from existing personnel, he said.

Employees remaining without a job at the end of the exercise will receive a separation package. Some of the positions are vacant now, he said.

The employees most affected already know, he said.

About 160 jobs are in the New Orleans area, mostly in administrative positions at the corporate headquarters, 25 are in the Baton Rouge offices of Entergy Gulf States and Entergy Louisiana and another 55 are elsewhere in the state.

Entergy companies employ about 4,900 people in Louisiana.

Arkansas would lose about 165 jobs; Texas, 115; New York, 110; Mississippi, 80; and Massachusetts, Michigan and Vermont, about 30 each, according to the company news release.

May told the PSC the move will save the company about $250 million by 2016.

Regulated utility companies will account for a portion “and that will have an influence on our rates going forward,” he said.