Top Energy has completed a successful financial year that saw revenue increased $5 million, and EBITDAF earnings rise $1.5m to $34.1m, chairman Murray Bain saying the strong financial performance had enabled the company to reduce its debt while continuing to invest in its electricity infrastructure.
Revenue increased by $7.7m, which coupled with lower capital expenditure, had enabled the repayment of $5.8m of borrowed funds.
Mr Bain said the organisation had performed well in terms of both financial and non-financial targets. Service levels had continued to improve despite several significant weather-related outages and incidents affecting Transpower's high voltage supply.
"The electricity network and generation plant at Ngawha both had successful years," he added. "Farming income was also up, benefiting from higher realised prices. However, our contracting division was impacted by a decline in Pacific project work.
"Overall the business is delivering good returns, which supports our capital investment in the replacement and reinforcement of the network."
Revenue in the network division increased $3.4m (8 per cent), and the Ngawha generator had also performed well, despite an extensive annual maintenance outage in October, producing an annual plant availability result of 96.6 per cent, exceeding the target of 94.7 per cent, and a revenue increase of $800,000.
The capital works programme over the past eight years had created a more resilient network, Mr Bain added. The network commissioned $14.5m worth of new assets, in line with the asset management plan, while $20m was invested in physical and intangible assets.
Major outages during the financial year had largely been beyond the control of Top Energy, he said. Sabotage and scrub fires caused major outages on Transpower's transmission line on two occasions, cutting the supply to all Top Energy consumers.
The company had a strategy to improve the security of supply, with the proposed expansion of its geothermal generation plant at Ngawha and the further installation of bio-diesel and diesel-powered generators.
Ngawha would soon have the capacity to generate 50MW of electricity, which could supply more than 80 per cent of the Far North's needs and would contribute significantly to group's profits.
Good progress had also been made in terms of implementing the new health and safety legislation.
The directors had been involved in reviewing, inspecting and engaging with staff to ensure the safest environment for them and the public, although despite the efforts of the board, management and employees, three lost-time injuries had been reported during the year.