Energy Chief Executive Officer Anthony Earley, left. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty
Energy Chief Executive Officer Anthony Earley, left. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty
Documents published on Tuesday detail PG&E’s compensation plans for its new CEO, Anthony Earley. Earley, a Michigan energy executive, begins his new job on September 13. Securities and Exchange Commission filings show that Earley’s 2011 earnings will make him one of the highest paid utility executives in the country.

Earley will make about $2.8 million between September and December of 2011, in a combination of salary, equity and cash incentives, according to the filing. But a one-time employment bonus, as well as “inducement equity awards,” could bring that total closer to ten million. His base annual salary will be $1.25 million.

Former PG&E CEO Peter Darbee earned $7.34 million in 2010, according to Forbes. Darbee resigned from his position in April, following a series of disasters at the company, including the September 2010 explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation revealed sloppy record keeping and patchy inspection practices.

Earley has a reputation as a nuts and bolts energy insider, says analyst Philip Smyth for Fitch, Inc. which recently downgraded PG&E’s credit rating.

“He has the appropriate background I think to lead the company through this challenging time,” Smyth said.

Earley joined DTE Energy in 1994 and was its CEO from 1998 until September 2010, when he became executive chairman.

DTE was fined a little more than $1.3 million for a variety of infractions, including gas safety violations, overcharging customers and “anti-competitive behavior” for delaying or denying its customers ability to switch to another electricity supplier, according to the San Jose Mercury News. That’s much less though than the $6.5 million in fines PG&E saw during the same time period.

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Earley noted PG&E’s San Bruno woes.

“They’ve struggled to recover from the tragic explosion,” Earley said, “and I guess the board felt that they needed a set of fresh eyes.” He called PG&E an iconic energy company, one of the industry’s leaders for a century.

PG&E stock has been on a steady climb since last year, until the recent market turbulence. It closed at $39.64 on August 8.

Amy Standen, Katrina Schwartz and Lisa Pickoff-White all contributed to this report.

  • Citizen

    This is excessive, especially when so many in SF have to choose between groceries and rent.

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