Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. is offering buyouts to 800 employees as part of an ongoing move to cut at least $26 million in costs, the utility firm said yesterday.
The "voluntary special early retirement program" is available to workers who are 55 by April 1, 1992, and have 20 years of service, Art Slusark, a BG&E spokesman, said.
"The program will effectively add five years to an employee's age for the purpose of calculating pension benefits," Mr. Slusark said. "This is part of our continuing effort to maintain our competitiveness and to limit the need for future rate increases."
BG&E received its last rate increase, of $53 million, from the Maryland Public Service Commission in October.
Letters informing all of BG&E's 9,400 employees of the buyout offers -- the first in the company's 175-year history -- went out Friday, Mr. Slusark added.
"Reductions that we achieve through this program will not affect BG&E's ability to provide safe and reliable gas and electric service," he said. Employees are not being offered cash payouts under the buyout program.
Last month, BG&E said it was implementing a hiring freeze because of forecasts that the economy will continue to lag next year. At the time, the utility said it hoped to lose 400 workers through attrition and said layoffs were not in its plans.
Yesterday, Mr. Slusark said management still was not considering layoffs as a means of downsizing BG&E's work force.