Hydro-Quebec profits slip to $2.89 billion despite record exports

MONTREAL - Hydro-Quebec's net profit fell slightly last year despite record net electricity exports.

The state-owned utility says it earned $2.85 billion, down from $2.86 billion in 2016.

The results include $45 million it shared with customers because profits surpassed the regulator-approved rate of return.

Excluding this payment, Hydro-Quebec's adjusted profit was $2.89 billion, up $30 million from 2016.

Hydro-Quebec paid the provincial government — its sole shareholder — a $2.14 billion dividend, in line with the previous year.

The utility has had the lowest residential electricity rates in North America since 2009, paying just 7.07 cents per kWh last year. The monthly consumption of 1,000 kWh cost $71 in Montreal, compared to $111 in Vancouver, $163 in Toronto, $285 in Boston and $297 in New York City.

Revenues increased slightly to $13.47 billion.

Hydro-Quebec earned $780 million from exporting 34.4 terawatt hours (TWh), up from 32.6 TWh a year ago.

More than half of electricity exports (53 per cent) went to New England states, up from 46 per cent in 2016. New York bought 23 per cent, Ontario 13 per cent, New Brunswick six per cent and other markets five per cent.

Net exports generated 27 per cent of the utility's profits even though they accounted for 17 per cent of sales volume.

The provincial energy regulator last week approved a residential rate increase of 0.7 per cent as of April 1.

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