Customers, storage up for Meridian

Meridian Energy released improved figures with improved storage, and growing retail sales and customer connections over the previous financial year.

Australian customers now exceeded 8000 and another 2800 were in the process of switching.

In a market report, Meridian, which remains 51% owned by the Government, said in the month to May 12, national hydro storage increased from 71% to 92% of historical average.

In the South Island, storage was 94% of average and in the North Island, 69%.

Improved storage resulted in a reduction in ASX forward prices for 2014.

Meridian's inflows were 75% of average during April and its Waitaki catchment storage sat at 81% of historical average at the end of April.

Demand in 2014 remained flat compared with the corresponding period last year, the company said.

South Island storage was back near average, having dropped below 70% of average in mid-April.

In the financial year to date, inflows were 103% of historical average, largely due to high spring 2013 inflows.

New Zealand Aluminium Smelters' average load during April was slightly below the base agreement between the operator of the Tiwai Point smelter and the company.

Meridian's New Zealand generation in April was 5.1% higher than in the same month last year.

In the financial year to date, Meridian's New Zealand generation was 7.5% higher than the previous corresponding period.

Continued dry weather kept the average price Meridian received for its generation in April high. However, even drier conditions in 2013 meant it was 6.5% lower than in April last year.

The number of people switching supply companies in March exceeded 40,000, the second-highest monthly number on record and 16.5% higher than in March last year.

The 12-month average switching rate was 20.1% at the end of March.

Meridian's New Zealand customer connection numbers had increased by 2.1% since July 1, 2013, reflecting growth in Meridian North Island and Powershop connection numbers.

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