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BC Hydro slammed for six figure salaries

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – As BC Hydro looks to boost your electricity rates, a report finds more than 2,600 of its employees are earning more than $100,000 a year.

That isn’t sitting well with critics who have long called for belt-tightening at the electricity provider.

The so-called “Six Figure Club” makes up roughly 45 per cent of Hydro’s workforce.

“Of all the Crown corporations that have come under the microscope in the past few years, BC Hydro’s gold standard corporate culture has been the worst,” says Jordan Bateman, BC Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“It’s just so far out of touch with anything we see in the private sector.”

Bateman feels compensation at the executive level is especially out of control.

“When you realize that you’ve got senior employees making $90,000 a year just in bonuses, that’s more than the average household income in BC,” he points out.

And NDP Energy Critic John Horgan is calling for an independent review of BC Hydro.

“I don’t think the province takes this seriously, the minister will most assuredly say these are all good people and they deserve what they get.  Well we can’t keep hearing this year after year that the senior managers need to get paid more or they’ll go elsewhere…well I say get lost, if you don’t like working here go somewhere else and there’s always someone to replace you,” explains a fired up Horgan.

He thinks there needs to be a salary freeze not just for the lower pay scaled workers but most importantly those higher on the pay scale.

He wants accountability and responsibility for how this continues to happen in various organizations including BC Ferries.

“David Haan got a million dollars to run a monopoly ferry system, that’s outrageous, the same job in Washington State pays about $250,000.  I bet you a dollar that the guy that runs the ferries in Washington would be quite happy to move to Canada to get public universal health care and a $750,000 raise.”

An internal report we told you about earlier this month suggests Hydro is seeking a 26 per cent rate hike over the next three years.

Statement from BC Hydro:

“BC Hydro’s employees work hard every day to keep the lights on.

We have to ensure compensation for our front-line workers is competitive – they are in high demand across the country. These are specialized, skilled crews who are required 24 hours a day, seven days a week and often work in difficult conditions. They work overtime to respond to emergencies that cause power outages and are consistently being recruited by other companies and by other utilities.

Earnings at BC Hydro for skilled employees are comparable to other power companies: 60 per cent of employees at Ontario’s electric utilities (Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation) earned more than $100,000 in 2012 and about 50 per cent of employees at SaskPower earned more than $100,000.

Our employees have an important job to do and we are always looking for opportunities to do it more efficiently. BC Hydro has made significant progress in reducing operating costs: we have eliminated 800 non-operational roles and are on-track to reduce costs by $390 million over a three-year period. All managers at BC Hydro have had their salaries frozen for three of the last four years and, at the same time, overall executive salaries have decreased by about 20 per cent.

We are in the midst of a capital program where we must invest in our facilities to ensure they continue to deliver reliable power. This requires skilled employees and management to deliver the plan and meet growing energy needs.”

-Charles Reid, President & CEO, BC Hydro