Welcome to the club, Potomac Edison, Mon Power and West Penn Power customers! There are thousands, perhaps millions, of us! But, don't despair... your electric bills are going toward a good cause.
Potomac Edison, Mon Power and West Penn Power parent company FirstEnergy will be holding it's annual stockholders' meeting later this month and asking its investors to approve (although approval is merely a formality that can be overruled) an executive compensation package that will provide CEO Tony Alexander with $23.3 MILLION in annual compensation and performance awards, including perks such as:
- Company-paid financial planning and tax preparation services.
- Limited personal use of the corporate aircraft. Pursuant to the direction of the Board, Mr. Alexander is required to use our corporate aircraft for all personal and business travel for security purposes (because those hoi polloi cooties can be deadly). With CEO approval, other executives including the (henchmen) NEOs, may from time to time, use our corporate aircraft for personal travel. We have a written policy that sets forth guidelines regarding the personal use of the corporate aircraft by executive officers and other employees. The Committee believes these perquisites are reasonable, competitive, and consistent with our overall compensation philosophy.
- Severance Plan which provides three weeks’ base pay for each full year of service with a minimum benefit of 52 weeks of base salary and maximum benefit of 104 weeks of base salary (and a golden parachute). Additionally, executives who elect continuation of health care for the severance period will be provided this benefit at active employee rates and must also pay taxes on any amount in excess of what employees with the same level of service would receive under the FirstEnergy Employee Severance Benefits Plan.
- In addition, certain executives are eligible to receive limited perquisites. In 2012, the NEOs were provided: (1) financial planning and tax preparation services for Alexander and Vespoli of $11,370 and $9,265, respectively; (2) charitable matching contributions for Vespoli and Jones; (3) premiums for the group personal excess liability and life insurance for all NEOs; and (4) personal use of the corporate aircraft for Alexander, Vespoli, Jones, and Lash. Executive officers’ spouses and immediate family members may accompany executives on Company aircraft using unoccupied space on flights that were already scheduled, and we incur no aggregate incremental cost in connection with such use. (bring the whole fam damily for a ratepayer financed vacation!)
- Accumulated pension benefits of $33M.
- Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan in addition to pension.
Also in 2012, we entered into an employment agreement (later referred to as the Alexander Agreement) with our President and CEO, Mr. Anthony J. Alexander. Your Board believes Mr. Alexander is uniquely qualified to guide your Company through the current unsettled environment based on his lengthy experience in the industry, familiarity with the regulatory process, and visionary leadership. The Alexander Agreement, by its terms, is expected to incent (psst - "incent" isn't a word!) Mr. Alexander’s service, expertise, and direction through at least the next several years as we execute our strategy, address the challenges of a weak economy and increasing regulations, deploy our succession plans, and position your Company for long-term success.
Finally, your Board is confident the Alexander Agreement, which encourages Mr. Alexander’s continued employment, will benefit shareholders and your Company favorably.
However, given Mr. Alexander’s age, eligibility for retirement, personal circumstances, and the fact that he was evaluating the timing of his retirement from the Company, your Board believed it was important to shareholders and our Company to look beyond the annual compensation programs in order to solidify Mr. Alexander’s continued employment through at least the next several years. Your Board believes Mr. Alexander is uniquely qualified to continue to direct the achievement of our strategy based on his vision for the future and strong commitment to that vision, deep understanding of the strategic direction of our Company, ability to identify opportunities to navigate market complexities, and foresight to understand the impact of potential opportunities on our Company. In support of our strategic business objectives, Mr. Alexander guided the Company through the transition to competitive generation markets in Ohio and Pennsylvania, developed our long-term retail strategy to compete in deregulated markets and led the execution of the strategy to pursue opportunities for growth that would not otherwise be available in regulated markets. He was also instrumental in pursuing our merger with Allegheny Energy, Inc. in 2010 which was consummated in February 2011. The merger created opportunities to enhance shareholder value, including repositioning our business mix to include a substantially larger regulated utility base that supports our dividend. Also, your Board believes Mr. Alexander’s 40 years of experience with the Company, including 23 years as a senior officer; his knowledge of regulatory and governmental affairs; and the relationship he has built with regulators, policy makers, investors, and employees is critically important to our success, especially during the current continuing depressed economic conditions.
The primary objectives of your Company’s executive compensation program are to attract, motivate, retain, and reward the talented executives who we believe can provide the performance and leadership we need to achieve success in the highly complex and competitive energy services industry. Our executive compensation program is centered on a pay for performance philosophy and is aligned with the long-term interests of our shareholders.
Our vision is to be a leading regional energy provider, recognized for operational excellence, customer service and our commitment to safety; the choice for long-term growth, investment value and financial strength; and a Company driven by the leadership, skills, diversity, and character of our employees.
Puh-leeze! I'm betting if Tony and his henchmen were the sudden and unfortunate victims of a targeted alien abduction that our lights wouldn't even blink. Simply put -- nobody would miss them -- and we'd be paying millions less for our electric service! Where's a good alien invasion when you need it? Of course, I expect the aliens would promptly return the NEOs when they realize how completely useless they are. Hope dashed once again.
Now, compare the plight of Tony and his henchmen to Philippe, who writes,
"Potomic Edison is in the business of gouging it's customers. I received a bill due april 12 2013 for 831.35. I found out about it through my online checking account which I was floored. Apparently they missed a reading and due to UNDER estimating this bill covered costs that went back 6 damn months. No phone call no anything other then sorry sir but the money has allready cleared and there is nothing we can do about it. I am fed up with all the back handed undermining and borderline extortion that we as a citizen have to endure all because of greed and that all mighty dollar. I will be taking up the cause of bringing a class action lawsuit against this company as I have already spoken to many of my neighbors in regards to this Companies less then lawful and misleading ways. I am a disabled vet on a very fixed income and in the 20 plus years of living here I have never had a bill exceed the hi 300 dollar range EVER. As for Potomic Edison who is already having to explain themselves in court in the State of MD. may now ad another state to the mix, WV. and very very pissed off about this!"
Or perhaps the plight of Cathy, who told others gathered to discuss Potomac Edison's billing issues that she hadn't yet moved into her trailer when she received an electric bill for $600. The Harpers Ferry resident, who has been living next door to the home for six months, said she set the thermostat below 50 degrees all winter and only kept a small light burning as a deterrent. "Their explanation to me was they estimated it for two months, and then we had a hurricane and they couldn't come. And then we had bad weather and they couldn't come," Jackson said of her conversations with the company. "I said, 'Then why didn't you come when the weather was good?' They didn't have an answer."
Or "SWOFLO" who writes:
"some of us live on a limited income and cant afford to pay 2 bills in 1 month. mine was estimated 4 months and by the time it got read they overcharged me 900 dollars, of course i will get a few months of bill less elect but i wont get the car i had repossed back because i couldnt make the payment for 2 months."
Tony, the peasants have no bread! I fear that telling them to eat cake instead would be equivalent to fomenting insurrection. Let Marie be a lesson to you!