[COMMENT: It just gets worse…
Classic corporate public relations: eliminate jobs, and call it “project momentum.”]
FPL, NextEra to cut 1,000 positions, including 60 jobs in Florida next week
By Will Greenlee
STUART — About 1,000 positions with Florida Power & Light Co. and NextEra
Energy Resources are expected to be eliminated over the next two years, FPL
president Eric Silagy said Wednesday.
About 85 percent of the reductions are expected to come through attrition,
elimination of open positions and early retirement.
About 160 are expected to be laid off out of a total of about 15,000
employees in the businesses, Silagy said. NextEra Energy Resources is the parent
company of FPL.
About 80 workers, about 60 of which are in Florida, are expected to be laid
off next week. He said they will receive severance packages and help in trying
to get other employment.
Silagy couldn’t say whether any of the layoffs will be on the Treasure
“The 1,000 jobs over the 26 months is enterprise wide,” Silagy said. “Some of
the jobs will be in Florida and some of the jobs will be in other parts of the
The remaining 80 will be laid off within the next 26 months, but Silagy said
that will depend on factors including attrition rates and the number of workers
who accept early retirement.
“You do this, I believe, from a position of strength, not from a position of
weakness. If you’re in a position of financial hurt then you end up taking
typically, when I look at what other companies have had to go through, you take
pretty Draconian measures,” Silagy said. “You don’t have much choice of what you
can do … So we’re doing this at a time when we think it’s the perfect time to
do it and frankly it’s what our customers expect us to do because we’ve invested
a lot of money in technology over the years.”
An e-mail explaining the layoffs was sent from Jim Robo, president and chief
executive officer of NextEra Energy, to employees late Wednesday afternoon.
Silagy said there are no plans at this time for future lay offs.
Jim Robo email to employees following Town Hall on Project Momentum
For distribution August 21, 2013
Subject line: Project Momentum Town Hall recap
Thank you for participating in today’s Town Hall meeting about Project
Momentum. I’d like to take this opportunity to recap some of what was discussed
When I announced Project Momentum in March, I felt it was important to start
with our vision of being the leading and most innovative clean energy provider
in the United States. For FPL, this means being the best utility in the country.
For Energy Resources, it means being the most successful competitive energy
supplier, and the leading renewable energy developer in the nation. Project
Momentum will help us realize our vision and keep customer bills low, which is
imperative in an environment with low power prices and uncertain demand for
electricity in the future.
One common question that has repeatedly surfaced regarding Project Momentum
is “why now?” The answer is simple — great companies don’t stay great by
standing still and being average. Great companies strive to get better each and
every day, looking forward and leading change. It’s a challenge that our many
stakeholders — customers, shareholders and fellow employees, among others —
expect us to meet head-on as we look to the future. After all, the drive to
continually improve is at the core of who we are.
One terrific aspect of Project Momentum was that every employee in our
company had the opportunity and was encouraged to contribute ideas and engage in
the project. For some, Project Momentum was a full-time assignment that required
the building of new relationships and use of analytical skills in innovative
ways. For others, Project Momentum’s staffing requirements provided the
opportunity to assume broader responsibilities within a business unit, earning
more confidence from colleagues and customers alike. At the end of the day,
everyone had the opportunity to provide input on ways to enhance and improve our
Whether you supported Project Momentum directly or indirectly, your work is
charting the future course for our company — by identifying opportunities to
reduce costs and become more efficient. The efficiencies and improved
productivity will help our company grow in a challenging commodity environment
as well as meet the rising expectations of our customers and other key
So, where do we go from here? The ideas generated through Project Momentum
were impressive and far exceeded my expectations. After carefully assessing all
of our work, we selected roughly 1,500 ideas for implementation across our
company. Many of the ideas revolve around how we conduct our business — from
insourcing where we can do it better, to outsourcing when and where it makes
sense. Other highlights include standardizing many of our business processes,
achieving best-in-fleet staffing and leveraging technology. Some of these ideas
every employee will see, such as the elimination of the printed version of
Energy Now in favor of an all-digital format. Others may not be as obvious, such
as the automation of certain billing processes that are performed manually
today. Your business unit leader will let you know how ideas that impact your
operations will be implemented. But in the end, everyone will be involved
because we’re changing the way we do business.
Lew Hay has said people make the difference, and I agree. Great companies are
great not just because they have great growth or low cost. They are great
because they have great people and they work hard to develop those people and
treat them well. I am committed to having the best employees in our industry and
key to that commitment is treating all employees fairly and with the utmost
When we launched Project Momentum, I made another commitment to you that we
would be as open and transparent as possible about any changes in staffing. It’s
never easy having to ask someone to leave the company. So first, I pushed really
hard to ensure that we absolutely minimized the number of people we have to ask
to leave. That’s why I imposed a hiring freeze eight months ago. It’s also why
we are going to have an enhanced retirement program so that people who may
otherwise have retired a year or two from now have an opportunity to retire
sooner and open a slot for someone else. And, it’s why we are going to have a
very fair and deliberate process for all affected employees to have an
opportunity to take on other jobs in the company.
With that in mind, we expect that roughly 1,000 positions across the company
will be reduced as a result of Project Momentum over the next two years.
Consistent with what I shared with you in March, I expect roughly 85 percent of
these reductions will be managed through the elimination of certain open
positions, voluntary attrition and an opportunity for many employees to
participate in a voluntary enhanced retirement program.
Nevertheless, there will be roughly 160 employees who just won’t be able to
stay, and of those, I expect that roughly half will be contacted by an HR
representative next week. This is where truly great companies differentiate
themselves. We have put together a generous severance plan. Beyond that, we are
going to do everything we can to help those employees find good jobs elsewhere.
We are going to make sure every one of those employees has access to
best-in-class outplacement services. And, we will be holding a job fair event,
which I have no doubt will attract a lot of top-notch employers, given our
reputation for having world-class employees.
Just as I track progress in many areas of our business and push our teams as
needed, you have my personal assurance that I will stay highly involved in
working with Deb Caplan and her team and will personally track the progress we
are making on these commitments to ensure that every individual is treated
fairly and with the utmost respect.
In closing, thank you for your hard work. When we are successful in
implementing the ideas of Project Momentum, we will be well on our way to
ensuring we remain a strong company for our employees and customers, and far
closer to our collective goal of becoming the best clean energy provider