KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - July 26, 2007) - FortisBC Inc. (TSX:FTS) today announced its 2007 second quarter results, reporting increased earnings, higher capital investment and an improved customer satisfaction rating.
Earnings for the second quarter of 2007 were $6.6 million, an increase of $3.0 million over the same period last year. The higher earnings were attributable to increases in electricity revenue and other revenue, decreases in power purchases and operating expenses, offset in part by increases in depreciation, interest expense and income taxes.
"The results this quarter are related to higher electricity sales and approved rate increases of 1.2% effective January 1, 2007, and 2.1% effective April 1, 2007, primarily related to increased investment in electrical infrastructure," said John Walker, President & CEO, FortisBC Inc. "Our priority continues to be the provision of safe and reliable electricity to customers in a cost effective manner."
As of the end of the second quarter the Company had invested approximately $67.2 million of its 2007 Capital Plan. This capital investment is in response to continued customer and electrical demand growth in the Company's service area, as well as the need to upgrade infrastructure.
On June 21, 2007, FortisBC's senior unsecured debt rating was upgraded by Moody's Investors Service to Baa2, Stable Outlook from Baa3, Stable Outlook. The upgraded rating reflects progress made by FortisBC in addressing a number of issues identified as credit challenges at the time of the initial rating in 2004, which included its ability to execute its capital spending program.
During the second quarter of 2007 the Company continued to improve performance in customer service. These improvements were reflected in FortisBC's customer satisfaction rating which increased to 86% in the second quarter of 2007 from 83% for the same period last year.
FortisBC is committed to the environment and to the communities it serves. During the second quarter of 2007, the Company was title sponsor of the FortisBC Wild Festival for Youth, an environmental education event which included a writing and art contest for students. FortisBC employees also raised over $10,000 for the BC Children's Hospital in a 34-hour relay across the southern interior of British Columbia.
FortisBC is an integrated electric utility based in Kelowna, British Columbia and operating in the southern interior of British Columbia. The Company serves approximately 152,000 customers directly and indirectly. The utility has four regulated hydroelectric generating plants with a combined capacity of 235 megawatts and approximately 6,750 kilometers of transmission and distribution power lines. FortisBC employs over 570 people in British Columbia and is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada, which serves almost 2,000,000 gas and electric customers and has approximately $10 billion of assets. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.
FortisBC may include forward-looking statements in this release which reflect management's expectations regarding the Company's future growth, results of operations, performance, business prospects and opportunities. Wherever possible, words such as "anticipate", "believe", "expects", "intend" and similar expressions have been used to identify the forward-looking statements. These statements reflect management's current beliefs and are based on information currently available to the Company's management. By their very nature, forward-looking statements are based on underlying factors or assumptions which are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally. Such risk factors or assumptions include, but are not limited to, general economic, market and business conditions, regulatory developments, weather and competition. FortisBC cautions readers that a number of factors could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from the results discussed or implied in the forward-looking statements. These factors should be considered carefully and undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements. 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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