Northeast Utilities, the parent company of Connecticut Light & Power and Yankee Gas among others, plans to outsource about half of information technology department and consolidate facilities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
That is not sitting well with House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, who represents Berlin, which is home to CL&P's offices, and Southington.
“I'm disappointed, and quite frankly, disgusted that NU is slashing good-paying Connecticut jobs. I can see it now—this will probably result in top executives receiving bonuses while middle class families suffer. We cannot accept this as business as usual,” Aresimowicz said.
Northeast Utilities, which employs about 400 information technology employees, plans to retain about half of them and said the transition is expected to begin in November and continue through June 2014
"We spent a great deal of time over the last year studying our combined, post-merger IT department and determined we had two very distinct business models - neither of which was best practice when compared with current IT models. In order to meet customer expectations and deliver the latest IT solutions, we have designed one integrated, forward-looking, technology-savvy organization," a statement from Northeast Utilities says.
In the wake of massive power outages during storms in recent years, Attorney General George Jepsen and Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz are watching how the merger will impact consumers and they have asked state regulators to look into the impact the plan to outsource jobs would have on the company’s major storm outage readiness, response and communication.
“While not unexpected, the changes NU announced today are very significant and will severely impact those Connecticut families that are ultimately affected by the planned staff reductions. The Office of the Attorney General and the Office of Consumer Counsel have already asked the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to fully review the effect that outsourcing of information technology jobs could have on the company’s major storm outage readiness, response and communication as well as the company’s compliance with the approved merger agreement” Jepsen and Katz said in a statement.
NU company said it is working with “strategic business partners” to help do the rest of the work, “the majority of which will still be conducted locally.”
Northeast Utilities said the vendors the company is working with are leading, global IT firms based in India: Infosys and TCS Consulting.
About 40 of the people impacted by the outsourcing will be re-hired by the external vendors and still work at NU facilities.
Northeast Utilities said it is offering IT employees a voluntary separation package.
“We remain deeply committed to the terms included in the merger agreement, and we will continue to monitor this situation to ensure that Connecticut is not ultimately disproportionately affected,” Jepsen and Katz said. “Additionally, we will work to ensure that anticipated cost savings arising from outsourcing and consolidation are reflected in lower rates to consumers in the 2014 rate case. While the full impact of today’s announcement will likely not be known for several months, these changes make it even more critical that PURA take a close look at NU’s manner of operations in Connecticut.”