Renewable energy hits record highs, outages down in 2015-2016
Fredericton, N.B. – In 2015-2016, customers of NB Power were served with a record amount of renewable energy, experienced fewer and shorter outages, and took advantage of rebates that will save them millions of dollars’ worth of energy in the years ahead. These were some of the operational highlights for the year ended March 31st 2016.
For the sixth consecutive year, NB Power posted positive financial results with audited earnings of $12 million, paid down $2 million from its net debt while investing $240 million in new and improved infrastructure, tree trimming and outage prevention and smart technology. The 2015-2016 Financial Statements can be found here.
“We’re very pleased to be making considerable progress in the areas most important to New Brunswickers by preventing outages, adding more renewable energy and helping our customers save energy and money,” said Ed Barrett, Chair of NB Power's Board of Directors. “Over the past year, we continued to meet the challenge of delivering positive financials while investing in improved performance. It’s important we keep searching for cost savings while ensuring a balanced approach that includes investing in continued reliability through infrastructure and vegetation management programs, renewable energy production, and the development of smart technology.”
The amount of renewable energy on the New Brunswick grid hit record highs in 2015-2016 topping out for the year at 42 per cent overall. This higher than expected number results from a record warm winter requiring less use of fossil fuel plants and additional out-of-province hydro purchased to offset a maintenance outage at Point Lepreau. Understanding these market conditions may not exist every year, NB Power remains committed to achieving its mandated goal of 40 per cent renewable energy on the grid by 2020 and continues to lead the way with new renewable energy programs such as the Community Renewable Energy – First Nations Opportunity and another program for municipalities, co-operatives and not-for profits expected next January.
NB Power customers also experienced a significant improvement in reliability as there were fewer and shorter power interruptions in 2015-16 compared to the previous year. Over the fiscal year, there was a 25 per cent decrease in the length of outages and a 15 per cent decrease in the number of outages compared to the 2014-2015 as larger investments in tree-trimming and infrastructure continued.
New Brunswickers continued to take advantage of the Smart Habits rebates programs in tremendous numbers. In 2015-2016, the rebates helped New Brunswickers save over $3.6 million in electricity and helped lower annual greenhouse gas emissions by 10,500 tonnes.
NB Power’s net earnings of $12 million for the year were impacted by increases in expenses related to unplanned outages and improvement initiatives at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station; the warmest January and February on record resulting in lower revenues, and by weaker financial markets.
Achieving positive earnings each year is vital to the company’s goal of achieving a debt to equity ratio of 80/20 by 2021. In order to meet these targets, NB Power needs to continue generating positive cash flows each year.
“New Brunswick continues to lead in the adoption of renewable energy while managing the delicate balance of keeping rates low and stable and starting to pay down debt,” said Gaëtan Thomas, President and CEO of NB Power. “Our employees are very focused today on ensuring our customers are protected from interruptions while pursuing a more efficient way of doing things and helping them engage in new ways to save energy and money. I’m very proud of the continued transformation of NB Power into a business aimed at helping our customers stop using electricity they don’t need.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Deborah Nobes, Communications, 506-458-4838 or firstname.lastname@example.org.