PSEG Long Island would have to disclose executive salaries and contractor costs to a state agency for public disclosure under a bill that passed the State Legislature Wednesday, lawmakers said.
Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) and Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) said in a joint statement the bill would enable the state Department of Public Service to review PSEG’s executive compensation and the fees paid to contractors, and to publicly disclose those costs, which are paid by LIPA customers.
The bill, which passed the assembly and senate unanimously, would amend the LIPA Reform Act of 2013, which a PSEG lawyer in 2015 said explicitly provided for the company to keep salaries and contract costs secret.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who championed the reform act, has until year’s end to sign or veto the new bill. Spokesman Rich Azzopardi said, “We’ll review it.”
Passage of the disclosure bill followed reports in Newsday in 2015 that the LIPA Reform Act empowered PSEG to keep such costs secret.
Bruce Miller, an attorney for PSEG, said in 2015 that the company wouldn’t release the salaries of the top 18 PSEG executives because of protections built into the reform act. PSEG earns around $58 million a year for management of the LIPA grid, and another $9.2 million for hitting performance targets set by LIPA.
“That management fee is fixed, it can’t be changed, and under the LIPA Reform Act, it can’t be questioned,” Miller said.
By comparison, all LIPA officials, who are state employees, must file financial disclosure statements, listing personal investments and other sources of income. Their salaries are disclosed publicly each year. The costs for LIPA’s contracts are publicly disclosed on the state comptroller’s website.
PSEG is under no legal constraint to do the same, and the lawmakers say that has to change.
“Long Island ratepayers have a right to complete transparency,” LaValle said. “Our families deserve to know where LIPA is spending their hard-earned money.”
Thiele said the bill “is necessary to permit [Department of Public Service] to consider employee compensation and consultant fees when making rate recommendations about PSEG.” PSEG spokesman Jeffrey Weir said the company “received the bill after it passed last night. We are reviewing it now.”