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Duke Energy to trim Midwest work force, expenses

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North Carolina-based Duke Energy is offering buyouts to employees as it groups together finance, legal and other corporate functions now performed in two Midwest offices, including its central Indiana office in Plainfield.

The Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday that Duke Energy plans to consolidate in Charlotte the job functions now carried out in regional offices, including Cincinnati and Plainfield. Duke, however, said the vast majority of its workers in the Midwest won't be affected by the buyouts, which are voluntary and affect only non-union workers with more than five years with the company.

Duke employs about 18,000 people, including 3,300 in Ohio, 2,500 in Indiana and 300 in Kentucky, the Observer reported. The company hasn't set a specific job-reduction target, spokesman Tom Williams told the newspaper.

Williams told the Business Courier of Cincinnati that most of the jobs in Ohio and Indiana are regional in nature and won't be moved to Charlotte.

Duke Energy expanded into Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky from its base in the Southeast after its 2006 merger with Cincinnati-based Cinergy.

The company said the changes are part of a drive to cut $200 million from operating expenses this year.

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