26/09/2014 - 13:04

Lower costs drive Western Power profit lift

26/09/2014 - 13:04

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Lower operating costs and an efficiency drive have helped Western Power record an improved net profit result, in a year where strong capital investment continued.

Lower costs drive Western Power profit lift
Western Power treated more than 90,000 poles in the 2014 financial year.

 Lower operating costs and an efficiency drive have helped Western Power record an improved net profit result, in a year where strong capital investment continued.

The state’s electricity network manager recorded a net profit after tax of $203 million, up 6 per cent from the previous financial year.

Almost 30,000 customers were connected to the network over the 12 month period, while capital investment was up 12 per cent to $1.2 billion as the provider continued to upgrade outdated power poles.

The Economic Regulation Authority set a 2 per cent efficiency target for Western Power last year which chief executive Paul Italiano said the company outperformed.

“Last financial year we achieved a reduction of $25.5 million in operating costs, and this year we have built on that success by driving efficiencies across the business with the result being a further $27.4 million reduction,” he said.

“Our commitment to providing safe, reliable and affordable connections to electricity for our customers was strongly reflected in our performance in 2013-14.

“We have connected nearly 30,000 new customers to the network this year, which is a five-year high, and our award-winning Perth-based customer service centre managed over 900,000 calls during this period.

He said that employees had performed well to restore power services in challenging conditions.

“Over the last 12 months, our people have excelled in their role as emergency responders – specifically restoring supply during the September storms and the January fires in the Perth Hills area," he said.

Last month, Business News reported that electricity production costs in WA were among the nation’s highest, according to a review conducted by the state government.

Speculation has been mounting that major structural change in the electricity industry could take place in this decade, including the state potentially joining the national grid.

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