Power price rises boost SP AusNet profit
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Victorian electricity and gas distributor SP AusNet's half-year profit has grown by 16 per cent due to higher electricity prices and an increase in gas volumes.
SP AusNet distributes electricity to about 652,000 customers in eastern Victoria, and provides gas for about 614,000 customers in the state's central and western areas.
On Friday, it said its net profit in the six months to September 30 was $169 million, up from $146 million in the same period the previous year.
Revenue was up 6.5 per cent to $884.5 million.
Revenue from its electricity business had increased by six per cent from the previous corresponding period, despite just a 0.2 per cent increase in volumes.
"This is a result of the regulated price increases for the electricity distribution network," SP AusNet said in a statement.
Revenues from newly-introduced smart meters also rose due to customer growth, it said.
SP AusNet's gas revenues rose by 10 per cent from the previous corresponding period, due to a regulated price increase and a 2.9 per cent increase in gas volumes.
The company declared an interim distribution of 4.1 cents per security, and forecast a full-year distribution of 8.2 cents, up 2.5 per cent on the previous year.
The company currently is facing two class actions relating to Black Saturday bushfires at Murrindindi and Kilmore East in February 2009 in which more than 100 people died and over 1,000 homes were destroyed.
SP AusNet said it could not provide an assessment of the potential outcomes of each case, but added that it would vigorously defend both claims and rejected any assertion of negligence.
"SP AusNet strongly holds the belief that it has consistently complied with its regulatory obligations, including in the year ended 31 March 2009," the company said.
It also said it did not expect the carbon tax to have a material financial impact on its business.