Powell Mountain, with offices in St. Charles, is owned by Progress Fuels, a subsidiary of Progress Energy, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. The parent company is providing affected employees with 60 days of salary and benefits. Employees were given notice of the pending closure on Nov. 15.
Progress spokesman David McNeill said the bulk of the 140 employees have been laid off and are receiving benefits, but a limited staff remains on site during the transition period. He could not speculate on how long the transition period will last.
Progress Energy had previously announced its intention to sell the Powell Mountain Coal Co., located on the Virginia/Kentucky border, as part of the company’s strategy to divest itself of its non-core assets and focus its attention on its two electric utilities. McNeill declined to comment on whether a prospective buyer has been located for the mines, which have openings in both states.
In recent years, Progress Energy has divested itself of most of its non-core assets and has used the proceeds from those divestitures to reduce its holding company debt, strengthen its balance sheet, and enable the company to focus on its two electric utilities: Progress Energy Carolinas and Progress Energy Florida. These non-core assets included such businesses as natural gas exploration and production, telecommunications, rail services, merchant gas-fired generation, and coal mining operations.
As part of this divestiture plan, Progress Energy has determined that it was not economical to continue production at Powell Mountain, said McNeill.
Progress Energy is a Fortune 250 energy company with more than 21,000 megawatts of generation capacity and $10 billion in annual revenues. The company includes two major utilities that serve more than 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. For more information about Progress Energy visit www.progress-energy.com.