May 3, 2021
AltaLink celebrates one year of injury-free work by employees
(Globe Newswire – May 3, 2021) – On March 31, 2021, AltaLink celebrated reaching 365 consecutive days without an employee injury, the longest streak of incident-free days in the company’s history.
“This milestone is thanks to the commitment of our employees to keep themselves, and each other, safe each and every day, often in a variety of challenging conditions,” said Gary Hart, AltaLink’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “This past year, our employees have had to navigate a new world brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to provide energy for millions of Albertans. I am very proud of the way the AltaLink team has remained focused on keeping themselves and their fellow employees safe.”
AltaLink employees safely maintain and operate approximately 13,000 kilometres of transmission lines and more than 300 substations, providing millions of Albertans with their electricity every day. The company’s more than 700 employees are committed to safety and focused on being the best energy company in serving customers while delivering sustainable energy solutions.
Approval of $230 million refund to customers highlights AltaLink’s first quarter of 2021
During the first quarter of 2021, AltaLink received approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission for its proposal to refund $230 million to its customers. The refund reduces AltaLink’s portion of electricity rates by more than 26 per cent for the remainder of 2021.
“We’re very proud to be a leader in our industry in finding ways to reduce the overall cost of electricity for our customers,” said Mr. Hart. “Combined with our previous rate levelization and rate reduction efforts, we have delivered more than $1.4 billion in savings to Albertans since 2015.”
The refund is the result of funds previously collected from customers for Future Income Taxes and depreciation. In its decision, the AUC approved a refund of $150 million of Future Income Tax and $80 million of previously accumulated depreciation costs.
In 2017, AltaLink announced its Flat for Five commitment to apply to keep its portion of transmission rates flat from 2018 to 2023. Since that time, AltaLink is the only transmission utility to have reached two consecutive negotiated settlements with industry groups representing Alberta’s largest customers, saving customers more than $130 million.
“AltaLink is committed to helping our customers navigate our challenging economy,” said Mr. Hart. “We will continue to deliver the reliable energy Albertans need while looking for more solutions to reduce costs for our customers.”
AltaLink announces 2021 first quarter results
AltaLink continues to invest in transmission facilities to ensure the reliability of the electricity grid. During the first quarter of 2021, AltaLink invested $66.7 million in its transmission system.
Today, AltaLink, L.P. announced net and comprehensive income of $74.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021, compared to $74.0 million for the same period in 2020. Our net and comprehensive income increased slightly due to lower short-term debt cost in the first quarter of 2021. Revenue from operations for the three months ended March 31, 2021, was $234.2 million compared to $228.9 million during the same period in 2020, an increase of $5.3 million. The change is primarily due to recovery of higher depreciation, salvage expenses and losses on disposal of assets.
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 first quarter of 2021
During the three months ended March 31, 2021:
- AltaLink achieved a significant safety milestone on March 31, 2021, going one full year without an employee safety incident. This milestone is thanks to its employee’s commitment to keeping themselves and each other safe each and every day. To be able to stay safe in the middle of a pandemic, while there is so much uncertainty and change, is exceptional. Employee safety performance as measured by total recordable injury frequency rate was zero, representing zero injuries compared to one injury for the same period in 2020.
- On March 15, 2021, the AUC issued a decision on AltaLink's 2021-2023 Tariff Refund Application. The AUC approved a 2021 tariff refund for customers in the amount of $230.0 million, resulting in a net 2021 tariff reduction of $223.5 million.
- AltaLink’s customer outage duration was six minutes compared to nine minutes for the same period in 2020, which is an improvement in performance despite experiencing over three times the number of weather-related events in 2021 as compared to the first quarter of 2020.
- AltaLink received the President's Award, the highest honour an organization can achieve from the United Way of Calgary and Area, for its 2020 campaign's inspiring commitment and efforts in supporting Calgary. The 2020 campaign raised more than $1.0 million for the first time ever in AltaLink's history.
- AltaLink conducted an employee pulse survey on its COVID-19 response and received favourable scores on senior leadership communication through the COVID-19 pandemic, team effectiveness and manager support. The company continued to ensure the ongoing safety of employees and to maintain the transmission of essential and reliable electricity for Albertans and our industrial customers while managing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. AltaLink has had no workplace COVID-19 transmission to date, and it will continue to check in with employees with pulse surveys and mental health support.
- Customer satisfaction average score was 9.14. AltaLink deferred customer surveys in the first quarter of 2020 due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Customer satisfaction of direct customers for the 12 months ended March 31, 2021 was 9.13 compared to 9.23 for the same period in 2020.
- AltaLink earned net and comprehensive income of $74.6 million compared to $74.0 million for the same period in 2020. Net and comprehensive income increased slightly due to lower short-term debt cost in the first quarter of 2021.
- Gary Hart assumed the role of President of AltaLink effective January 1, 2021. Mr. Hart is a professional engineer and has been AltaLink's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) since 2017. He will retain his role as COO. Scott Thon will remain in his role as the Chief Executive Officer of AltaLink.
- AltaLink became the first utility in the world to use robotic technology to safely install bird diverters on transmission lines. A new tool called LineFly employs autonomous robotic technology that is carried by an unmanned aerial vehicle to precisely install bird markers at any desired spacing and improves bird safety.
- On March 19, 2021, the AUC issued its decision on AltaLink's 2019 Deferral Accounts Reconciliation Application. The AUC approved $128.0 million of the total $128.5 million of capital project additions, disallowing $0.5 million of capital costs.
- On March 4, 2021, the AUC extended AltaLink's current return on equity of 8.5% and deemed equity ratio of 37% on a final basis for 2022.
- AltaLink invested $66.7 million in capital assets compared to $82.8 million for the same period in 2020 to ensure continued reliability of the electricity network.
- On April 30, 2021, AltaLink filed its 2022-2023 GTA, delivering on the last two years of its commitment to keep rates at or below the 2018 level for customers for the five-year period from 2019 to 2023. The 2022-2023 GTA includes the 2020 deferral accounts reconciliation, which includes the capital deferral account, consisting of four projects with total gross capital additions of $26.2 million, as well as AltaLink's other deferral accounts for taxes other than income taxes, long-term debt, and annual structure payments.
- On April 14, 2021, S&P reaffirmed its issuer credit rating and senior secured rating on AltaLink at “A” with a stable outlook.
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 FURTHER INFORMATION
Vice President, Treasurer
AltaLink Management Ltd.
Vice President, Communications
AltaLink Management Ltd.