THE Texas-based power group which owns the former Norweb company is planning to make "significant" job cuts in the UK.

TXU has announced a reduced profits forecast and said it intends to take action.

Mr Erle Nye, Chairman and Chief Executive, said: "The depth and length of the depression of wholesale electricity prices in the UK power markets have resulted in intense retail competition that has continued to erode margins."

UK interests also include the Eastern Electricity supply business and three British coal-fired power stations.

The company has about 5.25 million domestic gas and electricity customers in the UK.

The redundancy announcement has caused greatest alarm in Ipswich, where there are about 1,000 employees.

A TXU spokesman said they had "a handful" of direct employees in the Manchester and Bolton areas.

The staff in the call centre on Manchester Road, Bolton which services TXU Energi customers are employed by Vertex, a subsidiary of United Utilities.

"It is not a crisis," the spokesman said.

"But it would be if we did not do anything about it."

Competition in the de-regulated power industry has led to cheaper prices for consumers, but led to squeezed profits for the operators.