By JULIE E. GREENE
Allegheny Power System Inc. and DQE Inc. shareholders will vote on Thursday whether to approve a merger between the two companies that could result in lower customer rates and the loss of 500 jobs, officials said Friday.
Officials with the two companies said they still don't know when the rates would go down or how many of the jobs would be eliminated from the office in the Hagerstown area.
The jobs would be reduced by attrition, not filling vacancies and voluntary early retirement, said John Vincze, Allegheny spokesman.
There might be other employment opportunities for some of the employees in Allegheny's unregulated arm, AYP Capital, Vincze said.
AYP Capital eventually could do retail marketing for Allegheny, including selling surge protectors, he said.
The two companies employ 8,419 people, officials said.
The companies expect to save more than $1 billion over 10 years through the merger and to pass those savings onto customers, Vincze said.