The top five senior executives at Emera Inc. received total compensation worth more than $16.5 million last year. 

Leading the pack was Emera CEO and president Scott Balfour who took home $8.248 million through a combination of salary and long-term incentive payments including stock options, restricted share units, and performance share units. 

Emera is the parent company of Nova Scotia Power and owns Tampa Electric as well as several other electric and natural gas utilities in the Caribbean and United States. The company manages $40 billion in assets.

Emera’s Big Five compensation packages, 2022

Scott Balfour, CEO & President — $8.248 million 

Greg Blunden, CFO — $2.524 million

Bruce Marchand, Chief Risk Officer — $1.965 million

Karen Hutt, Executive VP — $1.854 million

Rick Janega, COO, Electrical Utilities — $1.968 million

The salary information is contained in the annual management information circular sent to Emera shareholders.

The document states: 

The total annual salary, short-term incentive and PSU payouts in 2022 for the five executive officers totalled $12 million, which represents 1.27 per cent of the Company’s net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $945 million. The Management Review Compensation Committee is comfortable that the payout totals for 2022 are reasonable based on the Company’s performance and demonstrate that the Company’s compensation programs are aligned with the interests of our shareholders.

That $12 million does not include payments paid through the company’s non-equity incentive program, pensions, and other compensation, such as travel.

“Reasonable” is a term that may be in the eye of the beholder, especially if you are unhappy with what you are paying for electricity here in Nova Scotia.

In 2022, the total return paid to shareholders actually decreased by 14% compared to 2021. President Scott Balfour also saw his total compensation decline but at $8 million a year he probably won’t notice that $32,000 cut. 

By comparison, the compensation provided to Nova Scotia Power president and CEO Peter Gregg is much lower. 

According to information contained in Nova Scotia Power’s management information circular, Gregg earned $519,596 in 2022. Just under half that amount — $254,602.04 — was picked up by ratepayers. Nova Scotia’s Public Utilities Act restricts how much salary can be paid through power rates. 

But Gregg also received a bonus which he chose to take as Deferred Share Units. The value of those units is not stated. Last year, Gregg’s total compensation (including incentives such as share units) was close to $2 million after a top up from Emera. 

Emera shareholders are doing well over the long term. An Emera shareholder who invested $100 in 2017 has seen that investment grow to $139 in 2022, on par with companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. 

How well the company does on the stock market also drives how much compensation the Big 5 executives make. More than half of their total compensation depends on long-term incentives such as performance share units (PSUs). 

Most of us aren’t familiar with this type of risk/reward offered to high-flier executives so here’s a description straight from the Emera circular. 

A PSU is a notional share unit that is based on the value of an Emera common share — the value of a PSU changes directly in correlation to the value of an Emera share. 

PSUs also earn dividends like Emera shares; when a dividend is paid on Emera’s common shares, each participant is allocated additional PSUs based on the dividend paid on an equivalent number of Emera common shares. 

Each year, designated senior leaders are awarded PSUs based on a pre-determined target of their base salary and the average 50 trading-day Emera common share price immediately preceding the effective grant date (the average is used to smooth out any short-term fluctuations in the share price).

Nice work if you can get it. Emera will hold its annual general meeting virtually, online, on May 24 at 5pm. 

Jennifer Henderson is a freelance journalist and retired CBC News reporter.

Join the Conversation


Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
  1. Hopefully these execs pay hefty income tax in Nova Scotia. That way we get back a chunk of the 9%-plus rate of return from NSP that contributes to their inflated pay packages.

  2. That’s $22,465 every single day of the year.
    $32,931 per day if using 249 work days in 2022.
    The poverty line in NS for an unattached single employable person is ~23,000.
    He makes the median salary of a Nova Scotian every 3 days.
    The difference in scale of even the low multi millionaires is absurd when put in context.