AltaLink proposal to save customers $267 million between 2019 and 2023
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CALGARY, Alberta, Nov. 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — An AltaLink proposal to save customers $267 million between 2019 and 2023 will be reviewed by the Alberta Utilities Commission in November. AltaLink’s proposal is that salvage costs be collected from customers for the removal of existing transmission facilities over the useful lives of new transmission facilities.
“Our proposal keeps more money in the hands of our customers,” said Scott Thon, AltaLink President & CEO. “Instead of customers paying in advance, they’ll keep their money until it’s needed for future salvage activities.”AltaLink’s proposal is part of its commitment to keeping its transmission rates at or below 2018 levels through to the end of 2023. AltaLink negotiated an agreement with customer groups that represent its industrial and residential customers for its 2019-2021 General Tariff Application. The negotiated settlement covers the first three of AltaLink’s five-year commitment to not increase its costs.As negotiated by AltaLink and its customers, the agreement excludes AltaLink’s proposed change to the method of funding salvage. This proposal will be tested in a regulatory process with the Alberta Utilities Commission in late November.“We have had great customer support for our negotiated settlement and tariff levelization programs,” said Thon. “Including the proposed savings from our salvage proposal, we have found solutions that have either reduced or refunded costs to customers by more than $1 billion since 2015. We’re looking forward to presenting our proposal to the Alberta Utilities Commission and delivering further savings to Albertans.”AltaLink announces 2019 third quarter resultsAltaLink continues to invest in transmission facilities to ensure the reliability of the electricity grid. During the third quarter of 2019, AltaLink invested $88.2 million in its transmission system.Today, AltaLink, L.P. announced comprehensive income of $91.1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2019, compared to $81.1 million for the same period in 2018. Revenue from operations for the three months ended September 30, 2019, was $247.2 million compared to $234.9 million during the same period in 2018, an increase of $12.3 million. The increases in net income and revenue is primarily due to the Alberta Utilities Commission approving $8.6 million of applied for revenue for carrying costs in the 2014-2015 Capital Deferral Account proceeding.As a partnership, AltaLink, L.P. reports its net income before income taxes; therefore its results are not directly comparable with net income reported by corporations that recognize income taxes in their financial statements.AltaLink’s full financial results and management’s discussion and analysis can be found on AltaLink’s website at www.altalink.ca or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.Headquartered in Calgary, with offices in Edmonton, Red Deer and Lethbridge, AltaLink is Alberta’s largest electricity transmission provider. AltaLink is partnering with its customers to provide innovative solutions to meet the province’s demand for reliable and affordable energy. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, AltaLink is part of a global group of companies delivering energy services to customers worldwide.Significant highlights during the third quarter of 2019During the three months ended September 30, 2019:On September 30, 2019, AltaLink refunded $6.5 million for customers which represents the customers’ share of cost savings arising from the cost sharing mechanism in the 2017-2018 general tariff application negotiated settlement agreement;On August 23, 2019, the Alberta Utilities Commission issued its decision on AltaLink’s 2014-2015 Capital Deferral Account Compliance filing. The AUC awarded AltaLink $8.6 million of applied for revenue for carrying costs;We reached a negotiated settlement agreement with customer groups on the majority of our 2019 to 2021 tariff application. Under the agreement, AltaLink will reduce operating expenses by $22.5 million and sustaining capital expenditures by $58.0 million from the April 2019 filing of the GTA for 2019 to 2021 to help keep customer rates low. The agreement does not include AltaLink’s proposed change to the method of funding salvage and its salvage study and excludes certain programs to reduce the risk of fires and to comply with transmission line clearance code requirements, as well as certain asset retirements, which will be part of a GTA hearing scheduled for November 2019. On July 10, 2019, AltaLink filed the agreement with the AUC for approval;As part of an amendment to its 2019-2021 General Tariff Application, AltaLink has filed to recover $38 million related to its wildfire mitigation program. The program, which includes increased line inspections, vegetation management activities, asset reinforcement and the potential of proactive Public Safety Power Shut-offs, will help reduce the potential of wildfires in High Fire Risk Areas within AltaLink’s service territory. AltaLink will consult with impacted stakeholders about the program through the second quarter of 2020;Customer satisfaction was 100%, which is an improvement compared to 97% in the same period in 2018;Reliability of service provided to customers improved compared to same period in 2018. AltaLink’s year to date 2019 customer outage time was 15 minutes compared to 23 minutes for the same period in 2018;On July 12, 2019, the CEA notified AltaLink that the company’s application for the Sustainability Electricity CompanyTM re-designation had been approved. In 2014, AltaLink was the first transmission company in Canada to receive the designation and now becomes the first CEA member to be re-designated under this process;Our employee safety performance was consistent compared to the same period in 2018. Our year to date total recordable injury frequency rate was 0.36, representing two injuries (nine months ended September 30, 2018 – two injuries);We earned net and comprehensive income of $91.1 million (three months ended September 30, 2018 – $81.1 million). Our net income increased year over year mainly due to the AUC approving $8.6 million of applied for revenue for carrying costs in the 2014-2015 Capital Deferral Account proceeding;On July 11, 2019, DBRS assigned an Issuer Rating of “A” to AltaLink and reaffirmed the rating on our Medium-Term Notes at “A” along with an “R-1 (low)” rating on our commercial paper. An “A” rating allows us to continue to provide low cost debt financing for our customers; andWe invested $88.2 million (three months ended September 30, 2018 – $72.6 million) in capital assets to ensure continued reliability of the electricity network.This news release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy AltaLink’s securities in any jurisdiction, including but not limited to, the United States. AltaLink’s securities have not been and will not be registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “U.S. Securities Act”), or any state securities laws and may not be offered or sold in the United States except in certain transactions exempt from the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act and applicable state securities laws.Except for the historical and present factual information contained herein, the matters set forth in this news release, including words such as “expects”, “intends”, “projects”, “plans”, “anticipates”, and similar expressions, are forward looking information that represents management of AltaLink’s internal projections, expectations or beliefs concerning, among other things, future operating results and various components thereof or the economic performance of AltaLink. The projections, estimates and beliefs contained in such forward looking statements necessarily involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which may cause AltaLink’s actual performance and financial results in future periods to differ materially from any projections of future performance or results expressed or implied by such forward looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among other things, those described in AltaLink’s filings with the Canadian securities authorities. Accordingly, holders of AltaLink securities and potential investors are cautioned that events or circumstances could cause results to differ materially from those predicted. AltaLink disclaims any responsibility to update these forward looking statements.For more information please contact: