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Idaho Power shorts its executives


Idaho Power shareholders met last week in Boise to share the good news of recent high profits, but Jan Packwood might have been smiling the widest. The president and chief executive officer for IDACORP, the holding company for Idaho Power, got his 2005 salary package ratified, and the numbers include a hefty raise. The only hitch is, his take-home numbers are still lower than 2004.

For his 2005 salary, Packwood is set to receive $630,000 with a bonus of $252,000, for a total of $882,000, according to proxy statements filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. But that's far short of his 2004 compensation. That year, Packwood pulled down a smaller salary--$580,000, just like in 2003--but had a fatter bonus of $566,138. His total take-home that year was $1.1 million due to the bonus shareholders gave him.

According to the Jeff Beaman, a spokesman for Idaho Power, the company opted in January 2005 to give Packwood a raise to put him more in line with other utility executives. With 452,431 customers in their 24,000 square-mile service area, Idaho Power is Idaho's largest regulated utility. Packwood didn't get a raise in 2003 or 2004 because of "difficult financial years," company reports say, where the utility didn't do so well because of several factors that include the ongoing drought. This year, high waters in the rivers doubled the utility's ability to generate energy, according to a prepared statement by Packwood when he announced his company's glowing first quarter 2006 results.

But Packwood's 2005 bonus was smaller, Beaman said, because the company began tying it to measurable items like customer satisfaction. "The incentive targets were not met, so his bonus was adjusted downward," Beaman said.