PUC to announce PGE decision tommorow at 11am
The OPUC is telling reporters that its decision will be issued tomorrow, March 10, at 11 a.m., with a press conference at the OPUC in Salem.
Maybe just maybe the PUC will finally do what it was designed to do, represent the people?
I won't hold my breath!
This decision will be announced in the backdrop of today's Oregonian article about PGE CEO Peggy Fowler's obscene bonus.
PGE bonus for executive 57% more than 2003
Peggy Fowler's $376,744 bonus for 2004 is linked to company and individual performance measures
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
by GAIL KINSEY HILL
Portland General Electric paid Chief Executive Officer Peggy Fowler a $376,744 bonus last year, according to documents filed with federal securities regulators.
The bonus, 57 percent higher than in 2003, is linked to company and individual performance measures, according to PGE officials, who last month filed the disclosure information with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.
The details on Fowler's pay come as state regulators prepare to release a decision on whether to allow investment firm Texas Pacific Group to buy PGE from Enron for $2.35 billion. The controversial acquisition effort has put the spotlight on PGE's finances and has drawn sharp criticism from consumer groups that object to rates that are the highest among the Northwest's 10 largest utilities.
"We've always been concerned about large bonuses when our rates are so high," said Bob Jenks, executive director of the Citizens' Utility Board, which represents residential ratepayers. "It's not clear, from a consumer standpoint, what a bonus of that size is for."
PGE officials said the bonus reflects management's ability to guide the company through a time of uncertainty and transition.
"We're in challenging times, and we've had great leadership," said PGE spokeswoman Gail Baker.
She noted that executive bonuses are absorbed by shareholders and not included in rate calculations.
Other top executives at PGE also received bonuses last year, according to the SEC filing. Jim Piro, executive vice president of finance, received $138,857; Douglas Nichols, vice president and general counsel, received $124,730; Stephen Quennoz, vice president of nuclear and power supply and generation, $115,815; and Stephen Hawke, vice president of customer service and delivery, $115,042.
State regulators and consumer and business advocacy groups have acknowledged PGE's ability to maintain a solid financial footing while buffeted by the scandals of corporate parent Enron, which declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2001. Nevertheless, beginning in 2001, PGE recorded lackluster earnings for three straight years as skyrocketing energy costs and a faltering economy affected the bottom line.
PGE's financial report for fiscal year 2004 will be filed with the SEC late this week. Until then, PGE cannot disclose performance information or further details on executive compensation, such as annual salaries, because of SEC rules.
In 2003, Fowler received a salary of $350,000 and a bonus of $240,000. She also received a retention payment from Enron of $400,000. Other PGE executives also got retention payments.
Enron did not hand out retention payments last year, Baker said.
Fowler's bonus and salary package appears comparable to other investor-owned utilities in the Northwest.
Mark Dodson, chief executive and president of Portland-based Northwest Natural Gas, brought in a salary of $500,000 and a bonus of $250,000 last year, according to SEC filings.
Gary Ely, chief executive, president and chairman of Spokane-based Avista Corp., was paid a salary of $528,205 in 2003 and a bonus of $250,371. Compensation for 2004 has not yet been released.
Judi Johansen, the chief executive and president of Portland-based PacifiCorp, received a salary of $589,394 and a bonus of $337,500 for fiscal 2004, which ended March 31 last year. PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of Glasgow, Scotland's ScottishPower, is considerably bigger than PGE, with a six-state territory and 1.6 million customers. PGE serves 755,000 households and businesses in Oregon.
Executives of Northwest Natural, Avista and PacifiCorp also receive stock options and other long-term incentive compensation, which are not available to PGE executives.
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