13 July 2020
Local electricity distribution company, Orion, delivered on both network reliability and financial targets in its annual results to 31 March, released today.
While achieving targeted service levels for customers, Orion also delivered $47 million in dividends to local community shareholders.
The company announced it had made a $48m profit after tax for the year ended 31 March 2020, $6 million above its Statement of Intent target, and the same as last year’s profit. Net profit was boosted by a $5 million deferred tax adjustment as a result of the Government’s decision in March to reinstate tax depreciation on commercial and industrial buildings as part of its support measures for businesses facing the impacts of COVID-19.
Orion Group Chief Executive, Rob Jamieson said the company was pleased to be able to deliver these dividends to Councils facing financial pressures.
“Our profits go back to the community we serve, and we’re pleased to contribute to other services that help keep the region running.
“Especially In these tough times, our dividends help our community and the work of our shareholders.
Orion reduced its prices by an average of 6 per cent, effective from 1 April 2020.
Jamieson said Orion staff and contractors continued to operate well during the COVID-19 pandemic, with very few outages over the lockdown period.
“Orion had thorough plans in place that allowed us to adapt quickly, and we worked hard to sustain a very reliable service during all alert levels. We co-ordinated with other electricity network operators across the South Island and New Zealand.
“The efforts of our staff and contractors to complete some essential projects prior to lockdown were magnificent.
“With so many people working from home and home schooling, it was important for everyone to keep the power on.
“While commercial use during COVID-19 lockdown was down, residential use was up, and we saw an overall reduction from the usual volume of power used of around 10 per cent at Alert Level 4. That moved to 4 per cent at Level 2. Power consumption across the region has now returned to usual levels at this time of year.”
Orion also announced progress on preparing for the future of the energy industry.
“As New Zealand addresses climate change and transitions to a low-carbon economy, the electricity sector is a critical part of the solution.
“We’re one of the first lines companies in New Zealand to install street level monitoring of energy usage patterns so we are prepared for the take up of EVs, and home energy generation, storage and sharing technology.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of an industry that’s playing a vital role in building New Zealand’s sustainability.
“We’re also leading the establishment of an Energy Academy for the industry that focuses on developing the skills and capabilities we’ll need in the future.
“We know many people and businesses in our community have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the future feels uncertain for so many, we look forward to being a trusted partner in enabling our region’s recovery,” said Jamieson.
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