5 Jun 2013

MRP quarterly electricity sales up

9:30 am on 5 June 2013

Mighty River Power has reported growth in quarterly electricity sales volumes, despite a fall in generation due to the drought which affected much of the North Island at the start of the year.

The recently listed company reported a of 5% increase in electricity sales volumes for the three months to March, compared with the same period a year ago, driven by more business customers as a result of the contracts put in place for the completion of the Ngatamariki geothermal power station.

However, the average price paid by customers remained flat at $111 megawatts per hour.

Total electricity generation fell largely due to the drought conditions in the Waikato affecting the Lake Taupo catchment area, while geothermal generation declined following maintenance at its Kawerau plant.

Chief executive Doug Heffernan says the quarter went to plan and Mighty River Power is now coming out of a bad summer and autumn drought.

Mr Heffernan says New Zealand does not have much water storage capacity, so hydro volumes are influenced by water inflows. He says as of the end of May, storage volumes were 61% of average.

He says that is an improvement on the situation at the end of March when levels were 33% of average for the time of year.

The company has also been granted final resource consents for a 53 turbine wind development south of Dannevirke and it has also applied for consent to begin exploratory drilling on the Taheke geothermal field.

However, Mighty River Power says it's unlikely to build a new power station in the next three to five years.

Shares in the company closed down 4 cents to $2.36 on Tuesday.