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PG&E Executive Raises Grow Despite Criminal Negligence Ruling, Soaring Rates

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- PG&E executives just landed hefty pay raises, in the same year that the utility is raising rates for customers and was found criminally negligent in the San Bruno explosion.

Some people are calling the move tone deaf.

PG&E's new chief executive officer Geisha Williams earned $4.2 million in salary and perks last year, according to a company filing.

And she's not the only PG&E executive to rake in the big bucks in 2016.

"We're not sure why these executives are being rewarded," said Mindy Spatt of the consumer advocacy group, The Utility Reform Network (TURN). She says while some compensation is covered by shareholders, most is paid for by customers.

"Even if PG&E was a really good company, these salaries would be excessive," she said.

Among those benefiting is out-going PG&E chief executive officer Anthony Early, who received nearly $12 million in total compensation, including a 9 percent pay raise.

And Nicolas Stavropoulous, PG&E's president of gas operations, took in nearly $4 million and got a similar raise.

Williams' perks last year included almost $20,000 in transportation services and $8,000 for financial counseling.

And 2016 wasn't exactly a banner year for PG&E.

The company was on trial, and ultimately found guilty, of criminal negligence regarding the San Bruno explosion.

And utility rates soared.

Berkeley resident Margaretta Mitchell saw her monthly bill top-out at $ 700 during the winter.

"i'm disgusted," Mitchell said. "I don't think they deserve it."

But PG&E insists they do.

According to the rate filing, the salaries and benefits -- including generous pensions and company stock -- are typical of those paid to top executives at other private utilities.

And bonuses and incentives are tied to the company's stock performance.

Bonuses were allegedly needed for "retention purposes."

"If the buck doesn't stop at the executive level, where does it stop?" Spatt remarked.

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