HARTFORD, Conn. -- Northeast Utilities will cut its information technology workforce in half over the next six months, a top level executive said Tuesday, eliminating 200 jobs as the company seeks to reduce its cost of doing business.

Some of the IT work will be shifted to a pair of companies based in India, Infosys and TCS Consulting, said David McHale, NU's chief administrative officer. As a result, 200 of the 400 information technology jobs in the company will be eliminated with NU offering voluntary severance packages.

"It's critically important to us that we treat our professionals fairly," McHale said of the severance packages.

Of the current IT workforce, 70 percent of employees working in that department are based in Connecticut, he said. NU also has IT employees in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. NU is the parent company of Western Massachusetts Electric Co., which covers Pittsfield, Mass., and 14 Berkshire County towns.

"How many people [NU IT employees] remain really depends on who elects to take the severance package," McHale said.

Reaction to NU's announcement was swift. Just minutes after McHale concluded his teleconference, Connecticut House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz said he was "disappointed and quite frankly disgusted" by the company's decision.

"NU is slashing good-paying Connecticut jobs," Aresimowicz said in a statement. "I can see it now; this will probably result in top executives receiving bonuses while middle-class families suffer.


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We cannot accept this as business as usual"

McHale said the changes were necessary. He said since the company merged with Massachusetts-based NStar in April 2012, "our IT departments have worked in two different environments that have not been merged."

"This will create one centralized shared service IT organization, working together, but doing it at a better price point," he said.

Aresimowicz and other state lawmakers held a press conference last week to express concern that outsourcing with foreign companies might put NU's energy distribution network at risk for possible security breaches. McHale responded to that criticism, saying that 60 percent of the company's IT work will be done here in New England.

"We will not compromise our system or its integrity," McHale said. "Some of our resources will be based abroad. But many of our partners do that already."