TrustPower generated less energy for fewer customers in the first quarter

TrustPower, the electricity generator and retailer controlled by Infratil, generated less energy for fewer customers as competition remained intense in the first quarter.

TrustPower generated 579GWh in the three months ended June 30, 4 percent below the same period a year earlier and 5 percent below expected long-term average production, reflecting lower North Island hydro and wind production, the Tauranga-based company said in a statement. Above average hydro storage levels meant wholesale electricity prices were “significantly lower” during the period, it said.

Shares in TrustPower were unchanged at $7.50 and have declined 11 percent this year, lagging a 13 percent gain in the benchmark index as the company faces a tougher environment with dwindling customer numbers and thinner margins. Sales to consumers fell 2 percent in the latest quarter while sales to industrial customers dropped 10 percent, the company said today.

TrustPower, which generates about 5 percent of New Zealand’s power, has 35 hydro plants and two wind farms in New Zealand with another wind farm in Australia. Its hydro project at Esk Valley in the Hawkes Bay is experiencing delays due to poor weather and is expected to be commissioned two months late in August, with the final cost expected to be a little over the $13 million budget.

Meanwhile, good progress is being made on the stage two development of its Snowtown South Australian wind farm, with the first turbine expected to start producing energy late September or early October, the company said.

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