Shelby’s Williams Electric laying off 168

Williams Electric Co. in Shelby is laying off 168 people as its contract with Duke Energy ends – though the company says those workers have been offered jobs elsewhere starting Monday.

Williams – which, among other services, installs and restores power and phone lines – said it is downsizing its facilities in various cities in central and western North Carolina and northwestern South Carolina effective Feb. 19, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice filed with the N.C. Commerce Department.

Under federal law, companies must file WARN notices when they make mass layoffs, close plants and change ownership.

“Due to unforeseen business conditions, namely the loss of our contracts with Duke Energy, of which we were first notified on January 18, 2016 and have attempted numerous times to have reconsidered, our last day on the Duke system will be Friday, February 19, 2016,” Williams said in the notice.

A Duke Energy spokesman said the company doesn’t comment on the specifics of any particular contract. A Williams representative declined to comment.

Williams said each affected employee has been contacted by and offered jobs at Sumter Utilities or Utility Lines Construction Services, starting Feb. 22.

Jason DuBose, Sumter’s human resource manager, confirmed the company is offering positions with its utility crews on its Duke system to Williams workers.

“We’re happy to be expanding our business with Duke and happy we’re able to provide continued positions for these workers,” DuBose said.

A Utility Lines Construction Services representative could not be reached for comment.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta