OPG execs paid well compared to some industry peers

Not only is Ontario Power Generation compensation more generous compared to the province's public sector, but it also appears high compared to other power authorities.

Ontario Power Generation leads the way in CEO compensation at comparable public utilities

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is a "top-heavy" organization with generous executive compensation, according to a report by Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk released this week. 

Ontario Power Generation's chief executive officer has an annual salary of $800,000, but his total compensation last year was nearly triple that figure. (J.P. Moczulski/Reuters)

"Earnings and benefits were significantly more generous at OPG than for comparable positions in the Ontario Public Service, and many of OPG's senior executives earned more than most deputy ministers," she reported.

But not only is OPG compensation more generous compared to the province's public sector, it also appears high compared to some other power-generation companies and power authorities near Ontario.

Soaring labour costs at public utilities is an issue outside Ontario, but there appears a significant difference in executive compensation.

Compensation in New York, Quebec and B.C.

Lysyk reported that the labour costs at the Ontario government-owned OPG were a record $1.7 billion, and almost two-thirds of its employees made more than $100,000 per year. In response, OPG announced it fired three of its executives, including its chief financial officer.

In 2012, CFO Donn Hanbidge had a salary of $396,000 and received a total compensation of $741,400.

Across the border, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) serves a variety of non-residential customers across the state and beyond.

The NYPA has 572 employees who make more than $100,000, according to a report by that state's comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, which was released in August. That is more than a third of its 1,672 employees. The report noted excessive spending in salaries, benefits and transportation.

Gil Quinones, the president and CEO of NYPA, makes $251,506 (CAD) in total compensation per year. 

Back in Canada, Thierry Vandal, who holds a variety of positions at Hydro-Quebec including CEO and president, makes an estimated $558,149 in total compensation.

Hydro-Quebec generates electricity and also transmits and distributes it to customers across the province. It employs 21,600 people, according to figures available on its website. It has 3.8 million residential customers and another 300,000 business customers.

B.C. Hydro has been criticized this year for similar compensation concerns. Hydro records reveal 2,667 employees make over $100,000 per year and 610 employees made more than $150,000 annually. Almost half of all B.C. Hydro employees make over $100,000 each year.

Charles Reid, the B.C. Hydro president, was paid $531,521 last year.

B.C. Hydro is a provincial Crown corporation which generates electricity and distributes it. The organization serves 95 per cent of the people living in B.C.

Executive compensation at OPG, in comparison to these cases, remains higher. CEO Tom Mitchell last year earned a salary of $800,000 and a total compensation of $2,229,768.

As of the end of 2012, OPG employed more than 10,800 people. The company generates more than two-thirds of electricity used in the province.


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