KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - April 27, 2006) - Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS) and FortisBC Inc. -
FortisBC Inc. released its 2006 first quarter results today. Earnings for the first quarter of 2006 were $11.3 million, an increase of $2.8 million over the same quarter last year.
"The increase in earnings primarily relates to increased electricity revenue driven by continued customer growth and a 5.9% interim refundable rate increase, which was approved by the BCUC effective January 1, 2006," noted John Walker, President and CEO of FortisBC. "The customer rate increase is largely driven by the 2006 capital program required to meet customer growth and upgrade aging infrastructure."
During the first quarter of 2006 the Company continued to improve performance in the areas of safety, reliability and customer service. These improvements are reflected through the customer survey satisfaction rating which increased in the first quarter of 2006 to 84% compared to the 2005 average rating of 81%.
"During 2006, we are focused on the continued implementation of our long term System Development Plan ("SDP"), with the most significant areas of investment being the expansion and upgrading of the transmission and distribution system in the South Okanagan and Kelowna areas and upgrades and life extension work on our hydroelectric generation facilities on the Kootenay River. These investments will meet the growing energy demand as a result of customer growth and will enhance the reliability of the Company's electricity system," added Walker. During the first quarter of 2006, FortisBC spent $24.0 million of the $111.7 million approved Capital Plan.
FortisBC is an integrated utility operating in the southern interior of British Columbia, serving approximately 150,000 customers directly and indirectly. The utility has four hydroelectric generating plants with a combined capacity of 235 megawatts and over 6,400 kilometers of transmission and distribution power lines. FortisBC employs over 500 people in British Columbia and is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc. - primarily a diversified, international electric utility holding company based in St. John's, Newfoundland, with assets exceeding $4.3 billion and annual revenues of more than $1.4 billion. The Common Shares, Series C First Preference Shares and Series E First Preference Shares of Fortis Inc. are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols FTS, FTS.PR.C and FTS.PR.E, respectively. Fortis Inc. information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com.
Further information is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
FortisBC may include forward-looking statements in this release. By their very nature, forward-looking statements are based on underlying assumptions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally. Such events include, but are not limited to, general economic, market and business conditions, regulatory developments, weather and competition. FortisBC cautions readers that should certain events or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary significantly from those expected.For additional information with respect to certain of these risks or factors, reference should be made to FortisBC's continuous disclosure materials filed from time to time with Canadian Securities Regulatory Authorities. FortisBC disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Finance
Manager, Corporate Communications