The CPS Energy Board of Trustees approved a $410,000 bonus Monday for CEO Doyle Beneby.
The bonus is 100 percent of Beneby's current annual salary. Half or $205,000 of the bonus is being issued short-term and will be given to Beneby over the next year, while the other $205,000 is being issued into a long-term pool which will be paid out at a later date.
"Dollars are a tangible way to express appreciation, but I'm more heartened by the comments from the board and by the comments that quite frankly I've gotten in many parts of our community about the things we're doing beyond just keeping the lights on and keeping rates affordable," said Beneby.
The amount is the max amount of money Beneby can legally receive in a bonus, as the Board of Trustees is allowed to give its CEO up to 50 percent of his annual salary in a short term benefit, and then up to 50 percent in a long term benefit as well, based on his accomplishments of the year.
"Several of the requirements require him to meet incredible operation standards within the company for safety for our customer service satisfactory ratings, and we just got back an award from J.D. Powers that said we not only met but we exceeded it. Our customers think very highly of how CPS is operated," said Derrick Howard, CPS Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Back in July CPS Energy did in fact receive a first place ranking in customer satisfaction with residential electric customers from J.D. Power and Associates. With a ranking of 661 on a 1,000-point scale, the utility came in 18 points above the average utility in the same category.
"And the other reason has to do with our financial matrix. Just recently in a board meeting, Mr. Kelley (Board Trustee Edward Kelley) noted a statement from the Bank of America of an analysis of CPS' financial situation. It said that we are one of the strongest companies out there. We actually have the highest credit rating of any municipal utility in the country," said Howard.
Beneby said he empathizes with the citizens of San Antonio, as he knows that such a large bonus amount could be perceived unfavorably among rate payers who are just struggling to get by in this economy.
"This is a really really tough business, and it's really difficult to day-in and day-out make the decisions that really move the needle. And so, it's always a tough position to try and state the case that you deserve what you earn. All you can do is keep your head down, work hard, and hope that the community supports it," said Beneby.