Westpower declares $3.7m surplus

Laura Mills

Westpower says 2013-14 was a difficult trading year, however it still managed to pay $2 million to its West Coast consumers just before Christmas
The company made a net surplus after taxation of $3.7m, down on the $5.2m it made last year but up on the $2.7m of 2012.
The company’s annual report says electricity delivery through the network showed no signs of recovery from the highs of 2010-11.
“In fact, a slight reduction in volume was experienced over the course of the year, resulting in a reduction in distribution revenues from 2013 levels.”
During the year Westpower commissioned its Amethyst Hydro Ltd scheme at Hari Hari, which it 88% owns.
Additional revenues from generating power had enabled the group to retain “average profit levels ... at a time when contracting revenues have been impacted due to the general down turn experienced in the sector”.
Investment into the feasibility of the Waitaha River hydro generation scheme also continued.
Despite the difficult trading year, a discount to consumers of $2m was paid in December.
In terms of outages, 2013-14 was the best experienced on the network in the past 14 years.
“However, the postscript to this is that in April 2014 the most severe windstorms ever seen on the West Coast had a major impact.”
Westpower chairman Mike Newcombe said consumers on the network had received good service and charges had been held well within trends in the industry.
Mr Newcombe was paid $66,222 for his chairmanship, and the directors generally about $35,000. Some are also directors of Amethyst Hydro, and earned a further $12,330. The Westpower directors are Mr Newcombe, Suzanne Merriman, Richard Cornelius, Tony Williams and Hugh Little.
Thirty-three employees earned more than $100,000, with the top earner taking home $300,000 to $310,000.
During the year, a serious incident occurred when one of its crews was working away from the West Coast.
“The lessons learned in that event have been applied in ensuring that similar events do not occur in the future,” the report said.