JEA CEO Jay Stowe will see a nearly $60,000 pay raise in 2023.
The board of Jacksonville’s city-owned electric and water utility voted unanimously Jan. 24 to increase Stowe’s total compensation package from $615,731 to $675,000.
The board vote directs JEA personnel to draft and execute the amendment to Stowe’s five-year employment contract.
The raise includes a base salary bump from $594,131 to $650,000, or 9.4%, according to a summary presented by JEA officials at the board meeting.
Stowe’s expense allowances will rise from $21,600 to $25,000 annually while his incentives and bonuses remain at zero.
His contract amendment comes as he enters his third year leading JEA.
David Emanuel, JEA’s chief human resource officer, said Jan. 24 that his office used executive energy and human resource surveys from consulting firm Willis Towers Watson, the American Public Power Association and the Large Public Power Council to compare Stowe’s salary with other public power executives.
The research showed Stowe’s salary increase ranks his compensation ninth of 17 CEOs on the Large Public Power Council benchmarking survey.
His pay is currently 12th out of 17 in the survey with a range of $508,000 to $1.4 million, Emanuel said.
Stowe, a former Tennessee Valley Authority and Huntsville, Alabama, public utility executive, took over as CEO from interim chief executive Paul McElroy in November 2020.
Stowe came to JEA less than a year after it fired CEO Aaron Zahn and Chief Financial Officer Ryan Wannemacher for their actions related to a failed push in 2019 to privatize the utility and a new board of directors was appointed.
Stowe was CEO when Zahn and Wannemacher were indicted in March 2022 on federal conspiracy and wire fraud charges linked to the effort.
During his tenure, Stowe has had to navigate pandemic-related supply chain issues, rising fuel costs driven by natural gas prices, hurricane impacts, JEA’s rising costs in its purchase power agreement in the Georgia nuclear Plant Vogtle and labor union negotiations.
Board Chair Bobby Stein said that record and the stability Stowe brings are important to JEA.
“During those challenges, Jay and his leadership team were proactive, candid in their communications to the board, JEA stakeholders and the public and did not shy away from answering tough questions,” Stein said.
“I think we would all like to keep and maintain Jay (Stowe) for the long term.”
The board approved the raise as JEA considers a residential electric base rate increase to cover a revenue shortfall related to those costs.
Under Stowe, JEA intends to release an integrated resource plan this year that will lay out how the utility will handle its capital assets, renewable and traditional energy mix and water system management and growth for 25 to 30 years.
“I got to come and be a part of a city, a region and utility that has a lot of positive things going for it,” Stowe said.
“We have 2,000 employees and I get to work with a leadership team every day that helps make us better as we help improve lives in Northeast Florida. I’m honored and pleased to be a part of that team.”