April 18


CPS' bonus round

Predictably, news last week that City-owned CPS Energy handed out a record $16.4 million in bonuses to its 3,644 employees whipped up plenty of online sniping. The utility's plan to ask the City Council for a rate increase early next year, on top of continuing uneasiness about the economy, amplified the anger.

But the utility handed out the bonuses in May after scrapping a rate hike it had planned to argue for this summer – CEO Doyle Beneby said cost-cutting had done away with the immediate need for an increase. Also, it's operating under a policy that goes back 13 years.

The CPS' employee incentive program has been around since 1999, when the agency's board of trustees approved a slate of changes that allowed it to act more like a private-sector company, including the ability to sell excess power on the open market.

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