boston globe

Healey willing to look into Eversource CEO’s compensation

APRIL 22, 2015

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Thomas May

Attorney General Maura Healey on Tuesday called a utility company executive’s compensation an “awful lot of money,” and said she is willing to investigate to ensure consumers aren’t affected.

Tom May, the president and CEO of Eversource Energy, received a compensation package valued at roughly $9 million in 2014.

“I’ll tell you, you know, the next time they come before the Department of Public Utilities asking for a rate hike, I’m going to make sure that we are there making sure that any excessive compensation isn’t being passed onto ratepayers as part of any proposed rate hike,” Healey said during an appearance on WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio” show.

She continued, “I mean, shareholders at the end of the day can decide how they want to spend their money and how they want to compensate an executive, I suppose, but my hunt and my charge is to make sure that excessive executive compensation isn’t being passed onto consumers and that they’re not footing the bill.”

When co-host Jim Braude asked her how she would determine that, Healey said, “What we do is, you get the documents, you do the accounting, you push, and you know, you investigate, and you look at things. And that’s what we do in these rate cases.”

In a statement, Eversource, formerly Northeast Utilities, said all of its employees are paid “market-based compensation.”

“Under Tom May’s leadership, we have outperformed the majority of peer companies in the areas of reliability and financial performance and his compensation reflects that,” spokeswoman Rhiannon D’Angelo said in an e-mail.

Asked about her reaction to the compensation, Healey quipped, “Maybe I’m in the wrong business.”

Healey said there is a “larger issue” at play about the need for a variety of energy sources.

“Yes, I believe we need more gas, and there’s a healthy debate on about that, but you know, we need to look at hydro, and wind and solar, because it’s expensive living here where we do in the Northeast, with the cold winters and the hot summers,” she said.

D’Angelo said the electricity price increases paid by customers this winter were “due to the high cost of electricity charged by generators.”

“These costs are approved by our regulators -- and are a strict pass-through, meaning they are passed on directly to our customers with no profit made by the company,” she wrote.