Trustpower lifts multi connections

Trustpower, which separated into two separate companies last year, continued to grow the number of customers taking two or more services in the nine months to December 31.

Releasing the third-quarter operating statistics yesterday, Trustpower chief executive Vince Hawksworth said total utility accounts increased to 384,000 in the nine months, higher than March 31.

Customers with two or more utilities increased to 88,000, 13% higher than at March. Trustpower can supply customers with power, gas, broadband and phone services.

``Trustpower's retail business continued to make good progress with its multi-product growth strategy.''

Trustpower separated, with the former Bay Energy Ltd and Trustpower becoming one company and Tilt Renewables the other.

The announcements yesterday reflected the standalone operation of Trustpower as if the demerger had been in effect for both the current period and the comparative period.

New Zealand generation for the company was above the previous corresponding period, mainly due to the impact of the King Country Energy acquisition, Mr Hawksworth said.

Excluding the acquisition, generation was up 9% on last year but remained 3% below the long-term average due to generation being withheld in response to low spot prices.

Nationally, electricity prices remained soft, particularly during winter when the weather was warmer than average.

The average spot price received for generation was $53MWh, well below last year's $63MWh, he said.

Production from the three Australian hydro stations was 235GWh, 44% higher than the previous period, reflecting strong hydro inflows in the period.

Spark had given notice to Trustpower that after a long-standing relationship as a spot electrify customer, it would be changing electricity providers for strategic reasons in March, Mr Hawksworth said.

Spark had about 3000 connections but as they were all supplied at spot prices, the overall margin was modest.

As there was no ability to cross sell telecommunications to those sites, the loss of 3000 connections would have no impact on the company's bundling strategy.

The 2017 earnings would be increased by consolidating a full year of operations from King Country Energy, offset by the cost of the demerger, Mr Hawksworth said.

``Taking these factors into account, as well as the operating results to date, the directors consider Trustpower's year end results would be better than last year but not by a significant margin.''


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