PSEG Long Island, citing the potential for "unfair economic and competitive damage," has declined to publicly disclose executive salary figures required by a new state law, drawing rebukes from the statute's authors.
The New Jersey company's disclosure filing with the state Department of Public Service lists top executives of the company's Long Island division but blacks out all salary figures, including for categories such as deferred compensation, bonuses, stock options and life insurance premiums.
PSEG officials said they sent an unredacted filing that includes the salary data to the DPS, which is reviewing the document and has the authority to release the salary data.
PSEG has balked consistently at previous calls to disclose executive salaries publicly, in one instance citing terms in the LIPA Reform Act.
In a letter to DPS requesting confidentiality for the salary information, PSEG assistant counsel Jeffrey Greenblatt said releasing it "could cause the company and its employees substantial economic harm."
Disclosing the information to the public "would create unreasonable and unnecessary risks for the employees identified," as well as "substantial injury to the competitive position" of PSEG, the letter says.
"Maintaining the nonpublic nature of the confidential information protects named employees from financial scams, solicitations and other harmful actions," Greenblatt wrote.
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who co-authored the law after sparring with a PSEG official during a Senate hearing over undisclosed executive pay, said he was "outraged" by PSEG's salary omission.
"I'm flabbergasted by the filing," Kaminsky told Newsday. "It flies in the face of the letter and the spirit of the law and I'm going to be urging the Department of Public Service to reject it."
Kaminsky called the nondisclosure a "literal manifestation" of a utility operating "as if it were above the law."
Kaminsky noted the law specifies that the compensation statement be made "publicly available."
Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), co-author of the disclosure law, said "posting the names, titles, and duties of all executive officers and directors and the compensation they receive is mandatory."
DPS spokesman James Denn said the agency was reviewing all filings and would “respond accordingly to ensure the appropriate disclosures were made by each utility in compliance with the law.”
The agency “understands the letter and spirit of the law is to make this information public,” Denn said.
PSEG spokeswoman Ashley Chauvin said in a statement the company "provided its 2021 Compensation Statement to the Department of Public Service in accordance with the [new] Public Authorities Law."
A copy of the statement, "with confidential information redacted," was filed with the secretary of the Public Service Commission, Chauvin said.
"Certain portions of the company’s Compensation Statement were redacted and provided in a separate document since it contains competitive and confidential commercial information," Chauvin said.
By comparison, LIPA, always has disclosed the salaries of its state employees.
Average annual LIPA salaries in 2021 were $156,108, while total compensation to LIPA's 72 full- and part-time employees — a number that fluctuated throughout the year — was $11.15 million, according to data from the state Comptroller's Office.
By comparison, LIPA in 2017 had 54 full- and part-time employees with average compensation of $125,108.
The Empire Center for Public Policy, a nonprofit think tank in Albany, has a searchable database of all state employees.
Six LIPA executives last year had salaries of more than $300,000:
- Former general counsel Anna Chacko, $302,500.
- Chief Executive Tom Falcone, $311,121.
- Chief information officer Mujib Lodhi, $325,000.
- Chief financial officer Tamela Monroe, $332,250.
- Senior Vice President Billy Raley, $325,000.
- Barbara Jean O'Connor, $302,500. O'Connor since has replaced Chacko.
LIPA said in a statement it "pays market salaries for skilled utility executives and staff."
Gov. Kathy Hochul in January signed Kaminsky's and Thiele's bill requiring all state utilities and service providers with revenue of more than $1 million annually to publicly report executive pay, starting with those making more than $125,000.
During public hearings with PSEG following Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020, Kaminsky demanded release of top officials’ salaries, but PSEG declined.
PSEG isn’t the only company seeking to keep salary information private.
Among others that did: National Grid; Con Edison and its Orange & Rockland utility; New York American Water; and SUEZ.
Companies that filed full disclosure statements include Central Hudson, Pennsylvania Electric and NFG.
Two others, including the Fisher’s Island utility, have sought extensions or have not yet filed, DPS said.