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AltaLink delivers strong customer satisfaction results in 2018

CALGARY, ALBERTA — (Globe Newswire – February 25, 2019) – AltaLink’s commitment to providing its customers with top service has resulted in the best full-year, customer satisfaction results in the history of the business. AltaLink’s customer satisfaction score was 96% in 2018 compared to a score of 91% the previous year.

“Customers expect us to deliver safe, reliable and affordable transmission service across Alberta,” said Scott Thon, AltaLink’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our entire team of employees has done a great job in better understanding and improving our performance on behalf of our customers.”

Segments of customers currently connected to the grid and customers in the process of being connected are surveyed quarterly based on their experience working with AltaLink.

The reliability of energy supply is AltaLink’s customers’ number one concern. During 2018, AltaLink also delivered improved results in reliability, reducing both the average duration and average frequency of outages on its system.

“We are improving the reliability of our system without increasing the cost to our customers,” said Thon. “We’ve filed an application with the Alberta Utilities Commission to keep our rates flat for the next three years and remain committed to maintaining those rates through 2023.”

Delivering energy safely is also important to our customers. In November 2018, for the second consecutive year, we received the Canadian Electricity Association President’s Award of Excellence for Employee Safety as the best performing transmission company with 501-1000 employees.

“To say we’re proud of our employees safety performance is an understatement,” said Thon. “Our team has built a culture on the principle of taking care of each other in the field and in the office.”

AltaLink announces 2018 year end results

AltaLink continues to invest in transmission facilities to ensure the reliability of the electricity grid. During 2018, AltaLink invested $340.8 million in its transmission system.

Today, AltaLink, L.P. announced comprehensive income of $292.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to $336.7 million for the same period in 2017. The decrease is primarily due to the impacts of the Alberta Utilities Commission’s decision to disallow certain capital costs within our 2014-2015 Direct Assign Capital Deferral Account application combined with higher miscellaneous revenues and certain positive one-time revenues recorded in 2017, partially offset by the return on a higher regulatory capital investment. Revenue from operations for 2018 was $968.8 million compared to $973.1 million in 2017, a decrease of $4.3 million. The change is primarily due to the recovery of lower loss on the disposal of assets, disallowed returns as a result of capital costs disallowed as part of the 2014-2015 DACDA decision in 2018, and positive one-time revenues in 2017, partly offset by higher returns on continued investments in electricity transmission infrastructure and the related recovery of depreciation and salvage costs.

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 2018 highlights 

During the 12 months ended December 31, 2018:

  • On August 23, 2018, we filed our three-year 2019-2021 General Tariff Application with the Alberta Utilities Commission(AUC), delivering on our commitment to keep rates flat for customers for the next five years;
  • In November 2018, for the second consecutive year, we received the CEA President’s Award of Excellence for Employee Safety as the best performing transmission company in 2017 with 501-1000 employees. Our employee safety results continue to be strong, with a 0.27 injury frequency rate in 2018, and are consistent with the results attained in 2017;
  • In 2018, 96% of direct customers surveyed said they were satisfied with AltaLink’s services compared to 91% in 2017;
  • Reliability of service provided to customers in 2018 improved further compared to 2017. This improvement is the result of AltaLink’s focus on reliability initiatives to prevent outages to customers and restoring service as quickly as possible if outages occur. We note that in 2017 there were some unique storm-related events that we did not experience in 2018. Our customer outage time was 25 minutes in 2018 compared to 54 minutes in 2017, our customer outage frequency was 0.43 in 2018 compared to 0.76 in 2017, and our customer restoration time was 113 minutes in 2018 compared to 107 minutes in 2017;
  • We earned net income of $292.1 million (2017 – $336.8 million). This is pre-tax net income, since AltaLink is a limited partnership and tax is incurred and paid by our owners. 2018 net income was $44.7 million lower than for 2017 primarily due to capital cost disallowances as a result of the AUC decision on our 2014-2015 Direct Assign Capital Deferral Account (DACDA) filing, lower miscellaneous revenue, and certain positive one-time revenues in 2017, partly offset by the return on higher regulatory capital investment;
  • On December 30, 2018, the AUC issued its decision with respect to AltaLink’s 2014-2015 DACDA filing. The AUC approved $3,833 million of the total $4,017 million of capital project additions in the application. Project costs of $155 million were deferred to a future hearing. The AUC disallowed approximately $30 million of AltaLink’s capital costs. In addition, the AUC ruled that it will put in placeholder amounts for the approved costs of the assets in the 2014-2015 DACDA proceeding until the AUC-initiated proceeding to consider the issue of transmission asset utilization;
  • On August 2, 2018, the AUC issued a decision on the 2018 Generic Cost of Capital proceeding. The AUC set the generic rate of return on common equity at 8.5% and AltaLink’s common equity ratio at 37% for 2018, 2019, and 2020;
  • On January 28, 2019 and January 24, 2018, S&P reaffirmed its long-term corporate credit and senior secured ratings on AltaLink at “A” with a stable outlook. DBRS also reaffirmed an “A” rating on our Medium-Term Notes along with an “R-1 (low)” rating on our commercial paper on July 10, 2018. A strong “A” rating allows us to continue to provide low-cost debt financing for our customers;
  • In 2018, AltaLink’s HVDC system reached is second full year of reliable operations. The HVDC system continues to provide Albertans with value by managing power flows on the grid to bring the most cost-effectively generated electricity to customers; and
  • We invested $340.8 million (2017 – $511.3 million) in capital assets to ensure continued reliability of the electricity network, help enable Alberta’s renewable energy future, and further strengthen AltaLink’s cyber and physical security.

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.



Investor Relations

Chris Lomore
Vice President, Treasurer
AltaLink Management Ltd.
Phone: 403.267.3446
E-mail: Chris.Lomore@AltaLink.ca

Media Relations

Scott Schreiner
Vice President, Communications
AltaLink Management Ltd.
Phone: 403.267.2176
E-mail: Scott.Schreiner@AltaLink.ca