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PSEG to move energy efficiency programs to subcontractor, shifts 18 workers' jobs

A PSEG truck comes out of the service

A PSEG truck comes out of the service yard on Jan. 1, 2014. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

PSEG Long Island next month will begin to shift day-to-day operations for energy-efficiency programs to subcontractor Lockheed Martin in a move that will affect 18 employees.

PSEG said the move was part of a "planned transition" and noted that PSEG will retain "command and control" of the programs, which help ratepayers cut usage and bills through more efficient lighting and appliances, building retrofits and product rebates, among other things. PSEG will retain day-to-day control of renewable energy programs such as home and business solar and wind energy.

The 18 workers will receive notices Jan. 30 about potential job offers from Lockheed Martin and will have two weeks to decide whether they want to take them. A spokesman for Lockheed Martin, which previously been working with PSEG on some of the programs, was not available.

PSEG spokesman Jeff Weir said the company will attempt to find jobs at PSEG for those who are not hired by Lockheed or who wish to remain with the company. "No layoffs are planned," he said.

It's unclear whether salaries would be equal to the workers' PSEG pay. The employees will not be eligible for a new PSEG pension plan that LIPA is funding, Weir acknowledged. "The PSEG pension stops when they become Lockheed employees," he said.

That and other issues have rankled some of the employees whose jobs are being shifted. Many have worked on the programs long before PSEG took over the contract from National Grid a year ago. Weir said he was unable to say how many of the 18 workers Lockheed would take on.

Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island, an environmental firm that has previously consulted to LIPA, said the jury was out on whether the move is a win for customers.

"On the one hand, this adds another layer [of bureaucracy] because Lockheed Martin is a subcontractor," he said. "But it may be a good thing because they will focus on energy efficiency."

The companies will be working with a smaller budget for the programs this year than last. LIPA's approved 2015 budget sets aside $83.8 million for efficiency and renewable programs this year, compared with last year's approved $94 million.

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