ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND--(CCNMatthews - April 25, 2007) - Newfoundland Power Inc. (TSX:FTS) today released its 2007 first quarter results announcing lower earnings, increased capital investment and a strong customer satisfaction rating.
Earnings for the first quarter of 2007 were $10.5 million compared to $10.7 million for the first quarter in 2006. The decrease in earnings was mainly due to a reduction in Newfoundland Power's rate-setting return on equity from 9.24% to 8.60%, effective January 1, 2007. The decrease in earnings was partially offset by higher sales associated with customer growth.
Operating costs in the first quarter of 2007 remained comparable to the same period last year. "We are committed to controlling our operating expenses while continuing to deliver service excellence every day. In fact, we have reduced our operating cost per customer by 13% over the past five years to minimize our impact on electricity rates for our customers," said Karl Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, Newfoundland Power Inc.
During the first quarter, the Company invested approximately $11.8 million in capital projects across the island. "In 2007 Newfoundland Power will invest approximately $62 million to strengthen the electricity system, enhance reliability for customers and respond to customer growth, including an $18.8 million refurbishment of the Rattling Brook Hydroelectric Plant in Central Newfoundland," added Smith.
The Company maintains a strong customer satisfaction rating, achieving 88% for the first quarter of 2007. "Delivering practical energy efficiency advice and solutions to customers is key to our ability to meet customers' expectations and maintain such high customer satisfaction ratings," added Smith.
During the first quarter, the Company provided several new energy efficiency tools and services to customers through its Bright Ideas campaign. A new initiative called Take the Energy Savings Community Challenge was hosted in Petty Harbour/Maddox Cove. The event included many energy efficiency displays and hands-on demonstrations to assist residents in making changes in their homes to reduce their energy usage. The Company also launched KidZone, a new online site specially designed to help school age children learn about electrical safety and energy efficiency.
"Our customers are very interested in information and products that help them save energy. We are committed to providing the tools our customers need to help them make appropriate energy efficient choices," concluded Smith.
With a customer base of over 230,000 accounts, Newfoundland Power is dedicated to providing the highest level of customer service and reliability in the most cost-efficient manner possible. All the common shares of Newfoundland Power are owned by Fortis Inc., a diversified, international distribution utility holding company with assets exceeding $5.4 billion and annual revenues of approximately $1.5 billion. The Common Shares, First Preference Shares, Series C; First Preference Shares, Series E; First Preference Shares, Series F and Subscription Receipts of Fortis Inc. are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols FTS, FTS.PR.C, FTS.PR.E, FTS.PR.F and FTS.R, respectively. Fortis information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com. For more information on Newfoundland Power's programs and services, visit www.newfoundlandpower.com. Newfoundland Power 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. Newfoundland Power cautions readers that should certain events or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary significantly from those expected.
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Newfoundland Power Inc.
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