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PSEG LI required to reveal compensation of top officials

A PSEG Long Island crew is seen at

A PSEG Long Island crew is seen at work on July 10, 2014. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday signed legislation that requires PSEG Long Island to make public the compensation of its top officials, along with all fees to consultants and contractors, in connection with future rate proceedings.

The law, introduced by Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), also gives the state Department of Public Service new powers to review those costs. The law amends the LIPA Reform Act to “ensure that such information is available for public scrutiny in connection with any rate-increase petition,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.

PSEG, during LIPA rate-hike hearings in 2015, refused to provide that data for public review. Newsday reported at the time that PSEG cited language in Cuomo’s LIPA Reform Act in withholding it. PSEG receives an annual $58 million management fee from LIPA and its 1.1 million ratepayers, from which its officials are paid. The company can also receive more than $8 million in incentive compensation for hitting certain performance targets.

“That management fee is fixed, it can’t be changed, and under the LIPA Reform Act, it can’t be questioned,” said Bruce Miller, an attorney for PSEG in the three-year, told Newsday in 2015, in response to requests for the information. “It’s by contract, and under the Reform Act the [state] Department of Public Service isn’t even allowed to question it.”

A spokesman for Cuomo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

PSEG spokesman Jeffrey Weir said the company was “currently reviewing the legislation to determine its impacts.”

LaValle in a statement said DPS “will now have the proper tools to adequately request and secure information that is related to the cost of supplying our power. We should not be paying inflated executive salaries and high-priced consultants without scrutiny.”

Thiele said customers’ rights to review PSEG pay and contract costs “is clear.”

“Access to such information should not be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality,” he said. “This legislation is the first step to restore transparency and accountability to the electric ratemaking process on Long Island. I thank the governor for approving the bill.”

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