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Ontario energy minister on Hydro One CEO pay: ‘This is not a negotiation’

TORONTO - Ontario’s energy minister is asking Hydro One to come up with a revised executive compensation framework that slashes proposed CEO pay, warning that the government is not going to negotiate on the issue.

The partially privatized utility submitted a framework last week that sets maximum CEO compensation at nearly $2.8 million.

But the Progressive Conservative government has said it will not approve the proposed executive pay if the CEO salary and incentives exceed $1.5 million.

Under legislation the government passed last year, Ontario can issue a formal, legal directive to the utility on pay.

For the time being, Energy Minister Greg Rickford says he’s simply asking Hydro One to come back with a framework within the government’s parameters.

In response today, Hydro One says it continues to seek approval for its compensation framework.

Rickford is also asking that the compensation of other executives not exceed 75 per cent of the CEO’s pay and that board member compensation not exceed $80,000.

When the Progressive Conservatives came to power last spring, one of the government’s first acts was to force the resignation of former Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt, whom Premier Doug Ford had dubbed “the six-million-dollar man.”

That move was followed by the resignation of the utility’s entire board, as well as downgrades and lower values of Hydro One shares.

Last month, Hydro One and American utility Avista Corp. announced they were cancelling a planned merger, after regulators in Washington state said the deal would not sufficiently safeguard customers from the whims of the Ontario government.
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