Columbus, Ohio (AP) -- American Electric Power wants to trim its work force by as much as 10 percent and has offered buyouts to nearly 22,000 employees in each of the 11 states where it has operations.
Spokeswoman Melissa McHenry says the utility, based in Columbus, Ohio, has given workers until the end of the month to make a decision.
AEP says it will resort to layoffs if there are too few takers.
The economic downturn has hurt power providers because demand for electricity has slumped.
AEP's sales dropped 6 percent in 2009, including a decline of nearly 16 percent for industrial customers.
AEP employees learned of the buyout offer Wednesday morning in a letter from CEO Michael Morris.
AEP is one of the nation's largest power generators, with more than 5 million customers.
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