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PACIFICORP OFFERS EARLY RETIREMENT TO NON-UNION WORKERS AT 2 UTILITIES

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PacifiCorp is offering early retirement to about 640 non-union employees of its two electric utilities to speed the implementation of efficiency measures, the company said.

The move results from productivity and organizational studies of PacifiCorp's electric utility divisions, Pacific Power & Light and Utah Power & Light, which combined operations in January of last year, officials said.Dave Bolender, president of PacifiCorp's electric operations, said the voluntary retirement program is being offered as part of an accelerated program to consolidate staff departments and functions within the two divisions. PacifiCorp's work force totals about 8,100.

"This stepped-up integration will result in a significant number of positions and employees being displaced within a relatively short period of time," Bolender said.

"We believe the most positive way of dealing with this, yet meet our commitment to avoid merger-related layoffs, is to try to open up remaining positions via an `early out' program," he said.

The package is being offered to all non-union employees with at least 5 years of service with the company and who will be age 50 or older by the end of the year. The employees will be given until July 2 to make their decisions, Bolender said.

Union employees are not eligible for the program, which provides eligible workers with a series of retirement incentives. They include benefits based on adding five years to an employee's length of service and no reduction of benefits due to age.

Bolender estimated that about 450 eligible workers, or 70 percent of the total, will volunteer to take the early retirement package, which also includes additional monthly benefits to bridge the gap between retirement and age 62, when they become eligible for Social Security benefits.