Update: Entergy Cuts 800 Jobs, Including 165 in Arkansas

Entergy Corp. said Tuesday that it plans to cut 800 jobs companywide, including about 165 in Arkansas.

The layoffs, which amount to about 5 percent of its national workforce of 15,000, were announced the same day the utility reported second-quarter earnings (PDF) down 55 percent from the same quarter last year.

In response, the company said it is redesigning its organization through "human capital management." Entergy expects to save between $200 million and $250 million by 2016 through the layoffs. Spokesman Chanel Lagarde told The Associated Press that the layoffs have begun and should be completed by the end of the year.

"Difficult decisions like job reductions are sometimes the very tough outcome of making long-term fundamental improvements in the way a company works," Leo Denault, Entergy's chairman and CEO, said in a news release.

"The redesign process has been comprehensive, thoughtful and focused squarely on being fair to our employees throughout the process and being responsive to the needs of our customers, our employees, our communities and our owners."

Entergy Arkansas Inc. President and CEO Hugh McDonald told Arkansas Business that the layoffs have more to do with industry changes than company earnings.

"Certainly our earnings are down," he said. "Capital investment is significantly up, and our customers are, frankly -- their expectations are changing. The internal processes in the systems and the technology for us to communicate with customers needs to be changed, and it is changing. We're evolving to meet those changes in various ways."

For example, McDonald said that multiple company components, such Entergy Arkansas' utility division, its customer service organization, its engineering organization and its distribution organization will be placed under a single leader who will report directly to McDonald.

McDonald said the layoffs represent about 6 percent of the company's 3,500 workers in Arkansas. He said most of the cuts will come from management, but will vary by state and company division. Laid off employees will be supported with a competitive severance program, he said.

On Tuesday, Entergy reported net earnings of $163.7 million, or 92 cents per share. That's down from $365 million, or $2.06 per share, during the same quarter last year.

Nearly one-third of the layoffs are happening in Louisiana, with 160 jobs cut in the New Orleans area and another 80 statewide. That's about 5 percent of the comany's Louisiana employment.

Entergy is also cutting 115 in Texas, 110 in New York, 80 in Mississippi and 30 each in Massachusetts, Michigan and Vermont.