KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 26, 2006) - FortisBC Inc. (TSX:FTS) today released its 2006 third quarter results.
Net earnings for the third quarter were $5.6 million, an increase of $0.8 million over the same period last year. Year to date, net earnings were $20.5 million, an increase of $2.5 million over the same period in 2005. The higher earnings were due to increased electricity revenue, lower operating expenses and income taxes, partially offset by decreased other revenue and increased power purchases, depreciation and amortization and interest expense.
Electricity sales in the third quarter of 2006 were 704 gigawatt hours (GWh), an increase of 16 GWh compared to 688 GWh in the third quarter of 2005. Year to date, electricity sales were 2,222 GWh, an increase of 44 GWh compared to 2,178 GWh for the same period last year. The increases for both these comparative periods are primarily attributable to customer growth as a result of continued population growth in the Okanagan area.
FortisBC improved performance in the areas of safety, system enhancement and customer satisfaction in the third quarter. The customer satisfaction rating for the third quarter of 2006 was 85% compared to a 2005 rating of 81%.
During the third quarter, the Company applied to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for a 2.9% general rate increase for 2007. The requested increase was calculated using a multi-year performance based regulation (PBR) model developed through negotiation between FortisBC and its major stakeholders. The proposed 2007 rate increase is primarily due to the Company's extensive capital plan and higher power purchase expense due to increased electrical demand.
"Continuing strong customer growth and increased energy demand, along with the need to replace aged components of our system, are driving our capital plan," noted John Walker, President and CEO of FortisBC. "We have invested approximately $66 million in our system year to date in 2006."
FortisBC is an integrated electric utility based in Kelowna, British Columbia and operating in the southern interior of British Columbia. The Company serves over 150,000 customers directly and indirectly. FortisBC has four hydroelectric generating plants with a combined capacity of 235 megawatts and over 6,400 kilometers of transmission and distribution power lines. The Company employs over 500 people in British Columbia and is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc. - a diversified, international electric utility holding company based in St. John's, Newfoundland, with assets approaching $4.5 billion and annual revenues of more than $1.4 billion. The Common Shares, First Preference Shares, Series C, First Preference Shares, Series E and First Preference Shares, Series F of Fortis are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols FTS, FTS.PR.C, FTS.PR.E and FTS.PR.F, respectively. Fortis 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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