Hydro One first quarter profit up 33% to $222 million

Share

"Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford, who has been leading in the polls, has referred to Schmidt as the "$6 Million dollar man", and has vowed to remove him and the entire board of Hydro One if he is elected. The PCs say they will picket the meeting.

The board of Hydro One is already under fire for sweetening the severance pay of its top executives.

Hydro One says the current crop of directors has "substantial expertise in the energy and legal sectors, consultancy and construction industries".

A Hydro One statement said compensation for directors is in the bottom 25 per cent of similar companies, and that the raises were meant to increase their pay "half way to median".

The company, Ontario's largest electricity distribution and transmission utility, said the increase in profit was driven by the favourable impact of a regulatory decision on Hydro One's transmission rates, as well as the positive effects of colder weather and cost control.

Ontario's electrical transmission network, partly privatized three years ago by Ontario's Liberal government, but still 47-per-cent-owned by the province, announced strong financial results on Tuesday, with quarterly profit up 33 per cent year over year.

The rally also included a lone counter-protester.

Hydro One board chair David Denison was unapologetic for the changes passed in the meeting, with the government abstaining from voting given that the company had previously agreed to review compensation levels. "This is a waste of taxpayers' money", Ford said.

"We're going to be in a bigger and bigger mess", he said about Ford's plan.

"It's not a sham", Denison said about the pending review.

Since the power utility was privatized, compensation at the company has surged. He would receive at least $10.7 million if he is fired in the wake of either government intervention with the company or a government move to replace the board.

Big-money boys at Hydro One take $25000 bump in pay
New pay raises for Hydro One board unacceptable: Ford

On top of that the board increased it's own pay by $25,000 past year to $185,000. "He was senior person at Build Toronto when they dramatically increased the pay for executives and gave layoff slips to the frontline staff".

- $70,000 raise for the chair of the board (to $330,000).

He said the Progressive Conservative's comparisons to the much lower pay enjoyed by CEOs of government-owned power utilities like Hydro Quebec are off the mark.

The utility company's Annual General Meeting will be held today in Toronto and in a Management Information Circular released ahead of the meeting, the document reveals that the part-time board voted in favour of bumping up their salaries from $160,000 per year to $185,000 per year, effective at the start of this year.

Schmidt said Tuesday that he recognizes the electricity company has become a "lightning rod" for criticism.

"We're quite frankly looking forward to ... getting through the election", Schmidt said.

"But we're not losing our focus as an organization in the meantime", he added.

As a private-sector, publicly traded corporation, Hydro One's compensation policies are determined by its board of directors.

But the company has not been able to escape the spotlight in Ontario's provincial election campaign, which the CEO admits Hydro will be glad to see end.

"The Ontario election will contribute to share price volatility over the next month", a Tuesday report from CIBC World Markets analyst Robert Catellier said. It will go down to a 42 per cent stake once Hydro One's acquisition of Avista goes through, some time this year.

Atilla sentenced to 32 months in U.S. prison over evading Iran sanctions
A jury convicted Atilla of five counts, including conspiracy, but acquitted him of one money-laundering charge. Atilla, who worked as a deputy general manager at Halkbank, has already spent 14 months in jail.

Share