4 July 2022 at 9:35 am
Local electricity distribution company, Orion, today reported a year of solid financial performance while building extra resilience into its network in its annual result released today.
The company announced a $33m profit after tax for the year to 31 March 2022, the same as the previous year’s.
Orion delivered $31m in dividends to local community shareholders Christchurch City Council through Christchurch City Holding Limited, and Selwyn District Council, $1m more than FY21.
Orion’s network capital expenditure increased by 10 per cent to $84m, $8m higher than the previous year, as it undertook significant projects to increase its network resilience.
Orion Group Chief Executive Nigel Barbour said addressing the impacts of climate change had become a priority for the company.
Last year’s volatile weather conditions meant Orion’s average number of minutes of power outages per customer rose by 21 minutes to 78 minutes in FY22.
“Last year we had three big storms and a flooding event in our region which caused long power outages for a number of our rural customers.
“We are beginning to see real impacts from climate change and are investing in refurbishing lines in rural areas vulnerable to weather events.
“We have just completed major refurbishment of the 115 power poles and lines in to Akaroa, and our lines around Sheffield will be next.”
“Around 20 per cent, or $90 million of our network capital expenditure for the next 10 years is devoted to refurbishing lines and installing sophisticated switching that will withstand the growing volatility in weather patterns, and be more resilient.
“We are also being more targeted with our tree management programme in high risk rural areas. Trees colliding with our lines in storms were responsible for around 80 per cent of the power outages in last year’s weather events.”
Barbour says the company is also preparing for increased take-up of EVs and businesses switching to electricity to power process heat.
“With increased electrification, demand for power will only increase over time, and we are starting to prepare for that.”