San Diego-based Sempra Energy, the creation of a merger betweenPacific Enterprises and Enova in mid-1998, has announced avoluntary job cut plan seeking a net reduction of about 275positions, or about 2.5% of its overall work force. The majority ofthe job eliminations will be rolled out in January focusing onmanagement and administrative support jobs at Sempra’s corporateheadquarters and in its two California utilities, SouthernCalifornia Gas and San Diego Gas and Electric.

Leaders of the two utility companies emphasized that they arestill hiring new skilled people to support Sempra’s strategy forsucceeding in the newly competitive sectors of the energy industryand related businesses. Offering the voluntary severance plan isgoing to allow Sempra to more quickly make the organizationalchanges it needs to improve its competitiveness, said Dick Farman,chairman/CEO who will retire the mid-part of next year. Hissuccessor confirmed by the Sempra Board last week, Steve Baum, vicechairman, president and COO, said offering the voluntary packagesto eligible employees will help Sempra better position itself forthe future competition.

“We’re offering employees who would like to pursue otheropportunities that chance – while focusing on developing andrecruiting the capabilities we need to advance our strategy,” Baumtold employees in a communications sent to all members of the12,000-employee work force. Eligible employees will get a choice ofhaving three years age and seniority added to their retirements orthree percent of eligible pay times the number of years of service.

Sempra said about 1,200 employees will be offered a chance tovolunteer for the program, and among those about one-third willapply and be accepted. The net number of jobs eliminated will beless than the 275 because of ongoing recruiting for certain skillareas — particularly in the two utility companies, includingengineers, linemen, and customer service personnel dealing with thedistribution (wires and pipes) part of the business.

Sempra said it is offering the voluntary downsizing startingnext year, having come to the end of its post-merger employmentguarantee in which everyone who wanted to stay with theorganization was provided a position.

©Copyright 1999 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. Thepreceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, inwhole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent ofIntelligence Press, Inc.