The organization that oversees New England’s power grid — essentially the same role as the one blamed for Texas’s winter electricity woes — is being zapped by advocates for its executives’ sky-high salaries and a lack of transparency.

ISO New England CEO Gordon van Welie was the recipient of a total of $2,305,770 as of the last tax filing made public by the nonprofit, which was for 2019. Executive VP and COO Vamsi Chadalavada hauled in $1,746,314.

Another four employees made more than $800,000, and 38 people made more than $100,000 — including eight of the nonprofit’s board members. Various nonprofit-governance publications say it’s unusual for nonprofit board members to be paid, but not illegal.

A Delaware-organized nonprofit, ISO New England is funded largely by fees off the top of residents’ electricity bills, and brought in $194 million in 2019.

ISO NE, which says it takes just over a dollar a month from the average ratepayer in fees, defended its bigwigs’ pay.


Progressive environmental advocates have their own issues with ISO NE, mainly around transparency and what they see as a slowness to embrace green energy.

“The board members are well compensated and there’s an opaqueness as to the way they operate,” Jeremy McDiarmid of the Northeast Clean Energy Council told the Herald.

He cited a lack of public access to some board meetings, and what he said was just a general lack of responsiveness to groups looking to engage with them. And, he said, the ISOs are essentially the gatekeepers for what energy is going to customers — so if people want it to be cleaner and greener — and locally produced — this is the place to start.

In that vein, Deborah Donovan of Acadia Center said she worries that the board has taken on a focus of “reliability — to the exclusion of everything else,” including the cost to consumers and the inclusion of green energy.

“We’re paying too much for the wrong thing,” she said.

Read the full article in the Boston Herald here