The Tennessee Valley Authority will cut more than 10 percent of its staff positions this year as it shutters more coal plants and trims operations to bring the federal utility more in line with competitors' staffing levels.

TVA accepted 750 early retirements and resignations under a voluntary incentive program this year and won't fill about 1,000 other vacant staff positions, TVA President Bill Johnson said. Other staff cuts are planned in TVA's nuclear power program, which is still being reorganized. But even before TVA cuts its own nuclear staff, 390 Bechtel contractors are scheduled to be laid off this summer from the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Spring City, Tenn.

TVA also expects to have to make some involuntary layoffs this year, although managers still are working to identify staffing personnel and numbers to meet budget targets.

The staff reductions are the biggest at TVA in more than two decades and are designed to help America's biggest government utility bring its staffing levels and rates more in line with other electric utilities adjusting to a slowdown in the growth of U.S. power consumption. Johnson has set a goal of reducing annual operating and maintenance expenses by $500 million by 2015.

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