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 JUNO BEACH, Fla., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company today began implementing a major cost reduction effort to enable the company to maintain stable rates for customers and to compete effectively in the rapidly changing utility industry.
 In a letter distributed to employees, FPL said the company will offer a voluntary retirement plan and a special severance plan to reduce the size of the work force throughout the company's 35-county service area.
 The letter said permanent cost reductions must be undertaken if FPL is to be competitive in today's energy marketplace. FPL's base rates have not increased since 1985, and the company believes that avoiding a rate increase is in the best interests of business and residential customers alike.
 Work force reductions will occur first through a voluntary retirement plan offered to approximately 500 eligible non-bargaining unit employees companywide. The voluntary retirement opportunity is available to employees age 54 or older with at least 10 years of service.
 "The voluntary retirement plan offers a unique, one-time opportunity for many of our employees to retire early with generous benefits," said Larry Kelleher, FPL senior vice president, human resources.
 The plan offers the option of adding five years to an employee's age plus five years to length of service to calculate retirement benefits. A second alternative offers a regular pension based on actual age and service plus a supplemental pension based on three weeks' pay for every year of service with a maximum of 14 months.
 Employees eligible for voluntary retirement will receive information packages containing complete details of the plan this week and have until Sept. 17 to reach a decision. Retirement would be effective Oct. 1.
 Kelleher said FPL is discussing bargaining unit participation in a voluntary retirement plan with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents about one-third of the utility's 14,000 employees.
 "Following completion of all voluntary retirement plans, it will be necessary to eliminate additional bargaining unit and non-bargaining unit positions," Kelleher said. "The number of employees affected will be determined, in part, by how many employees have accepted voluntary retirement plans. In the case of non-bargaining unit employees, a special severance plan will be offered beginning on Sept. 17."
 The plan consists of three weeks' pay for each year of service with a minimum of four months' pay and a maximum of 12 months' pay. FPL expects the special severance process to be completed before the end of the year.
 "Our voluntary retirement and severance plans result from continuing efforts by FPL to identify opportunities for permanent cost reductions," Kelleher said. "We realize it has been a difficult time for our employees since our July 6 announcement that reductions would be necessary. However, we have made every effort to ensure the plans will be beneficial to our employees and effectively implemented."
 FPL, one of the nation's largest investor-owned utilities, is the principal subsidiary of FPL Group, Inc. (NYSE: FPL).
 -0- 8/25/93
 /CONTACT: Bill Swank of Florida Power & Light Company, corporate communications dept., 305-552-3894 or 305-552-3895/

CO: Florida Power & Light Co. ST: Florida IN: UTI SU:

SS-XX -- FL002 -- 5722 08/25/93 09:08 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 25, 1993

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