Higher surplus power and the coldest winter in recent memory have boosted Manitoba Hydro’s bottom line.
The Crown utility said in a statement today that its consolidated net income sat at $72 million for the first nine months of the 2013-14 fiscal year, compared to a net loss of $38 million for the same period last year.
The numbers were released in Hydro’s quarterly report to Dec. 31, 2013. Also this week, the utility posted Seven Things You Should Know About Manitoba's Energy Future on its website to tell Manitobans why it needs to build the Keeyask and Conawapa generating stations, and accompanying transmission lines, in advance of the March 3 start of a hearing into whether the two dams are needed.
Pending approval, construction of the 695-megawatt Keeyask station is scheduled to start this year with an expected in-service date of 2019.
In the third-quarter report, Hydro says export power revenues were $338 million, an increase of $58 million compared to last year, mostly due to higher export electricity sales. Sales were also high because of favourable water conditions to spin generating-station turbines. Export prices were also higher.
In Manitoba, domestic electricity revenue also increased over last year as a result of rate increases and colder weather resulting in more power being used for heating.
December also saw Manitoba Hydro set a new record for electrical demand in the province, when the system saw a peak demand of 4,632 megawatts (MW) on Dec. 31. Increased heating load due to the colder than average weather, combined with a growing population and economy, were behind the new record. For comparison, Hydro's total installed generating capability is 5,675 MW.
The third quarter report also says Hydro’s results consisted of a $78-million profit in the electricity sector and a $6 million loss in the natural gas sector. The loss in the natural gas sector should be recouped over the remainder of the winter heating season.
The report also repeats what the North American energy sector has seen this winter -- natural gas commodity prices remain volatile as heating demand puts pressure on supply.
Hydro also said if things stay as they are, it’s forecasting that net income could exceed $130 million by budget year-end March 31.