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Layoffs coming at York Haven's Brunner Island

David Weissman
505-5431/@DispatchDavid
  • Talen Energy will eliminate 131 positions, including 42 at York Haven's Brunner Island.
  • Layoffs will be based on seniority within certain positions at the specific location.

Talen Energy will eliminate 131 positions, including 42 at York Haven's Brunner Island Power Plant, according to an alert posted by the union representing Talen employees.

Brunner Island Power Plant, shown in an aerial shot, was the third-largest source of nitrogen oxide in the state in 2011. The coal-burning plant doesn't have reduction controls in place for the pollution and soon may become the state's largest smog contributor.

Talen spokesman Todd Martin confirmed that the information provided in the alert, posted on the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1600 website on Wednesday, is accurate.

Martin said the cuts at Brunner Island, Montour Power Plant and Susquehanna Steam Electric Plant, which could include voluntary retirements, are part of a corporate restructuring needed to remain competitive in the energy market.

"The entire fossil fuel industry is facing truly unprecedented challenges," Martin said, "including increasingly stringent environmental laws and regulations."

States petition EPA to limit Brunner Island emissions

Brunner Island currently burns coal exclusively, but it is nearing completion of a $100 million project to turn the plant into a co-fire plant, allowing it to burn natural gas, coal or both.

The IBEW alert states that the union and company have 10 work days to correctly identify the employees who will be displaced based on lowest seniority within the job classification at the work location.

The union will notify the company of names of the displaced employees no later than Aug. 2, and those employees will then be notified by their supervisor.

The union's president was not available for comment on the layoffs Thursday.

"We understand this is a stressful time for employees, but we ask that employees have patience as the company and the union work through this process, to remain focused on your work, not be distracted, and to work safely," the alert concludes.

Martin emphasized that the layoffs will not affect Talen's commitment to safety at the plants.

Acquisition: In June, Talen announced that it had entered into a $1.8 billion acquisition agreement with Riverstone Holdings LLC, a New York City-based private investment firm.

Part of that agreement was an option to seek out other offers during a certain time period, and Martin said that time frame has expired with no additional bids received.

The deal has been approved by the Department of Justice but still needs approval from numerous other regulators and shareholders, Martin said.

Martin said he expects a shareholder vote to take place later this summer or early fall.

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.