Emera sees bump in profits due to cold weather
Nova Scotia Power's parent company says higher numbers aren't sustainable
Nova Scotia Power's parent company reported its year-end financial results on Monday and said Emera shareholders saw about a six per cent increase in their earnings, per share.
Emera earned about 12.5 per cent more in profit for 2013. It went from $230.5 million in 2012 to $259.4 million in 2013.
Officials said both of those numbers were largely based on an accounting adjustment. It was attributed to higher demand for electricity because of unusually cold weather and a spike in gas prices in New England.
Chris Huskilson, the president and CEO of Emera Inc., said those numbers are not sustainable.
"Natural gas markets experienced extreme volatility in the first and last quarters of 2013, driven by cold weather," he said.
"I want to make it clear $800 power prices generally do not produce windfalls in the winter time."
Emera sold a megawatt of power for $800 during those peak demand times.
Nova Scotia Power customers paying more
Without the accounting adjustment, Emera's reported profit was actually down a percentage point, from $220.8 million to $217.5 million. The earnings are on paper, not available in cash, Emera said.
Profit at Nova Scotia Power Inc. stayed exactly the same as 2012, at $126 million. Customers paid three per cent more on power bills in 2013 compared to 2012.
"In Nova Scotia, the focus remains on implementing cost-cutting measures and reducing heating costs for Nova Scotia customers," Huskilson said.
Huskilson said last year, 12,000 Nova Scotia Power customers bought heat pumps that reduce oil heating costs by about 33 per cent.
The power company will continue to promote that option by making financing available, he added.