|1st Quarter 2009 Report to Shareholders|
The Board of Directors has declared a dividend of 21.25¢ for the first quarter of 2009. A cheque is enclosed for shareholders who have requested direct payment. Those who have designated a deposit to their savings or current account have been given credit effective today. As of 23 March, the market price per share was $16.20.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of BELCO Holdings Limited will be held on Wednesday, 20 May at 3:30 pm., at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. The AGM will include an update presentation about our renewable energy initiatives, as well as expectations for a new regulatory environment. The Annual Report is being prepared and is scheduled to be mailed in early May.
BELCO Holdings Limited ended 2008 with consolidated net earnings of $21,425,427, an increase of 5.03 percent, compared with $20,399,518 earned in 2007. The $1,025,909 increase in 2008 net earnings is primarily due to improved BELCO performance, offset by both start-up costs incurred by newly formed PureNERGY Renewables Ltd. and decreased earnings realised by Bermuda Gas.
During the year, BELCO Holdings Limited acquired a building and associated property for $13.3 million to allow space for future expansion. A new subsidiary, Serpentine Properties Limited, was incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of BELCO Properties Limited. Serpentine Properties Limited provides leased space to several commercial tenants within the complex.
Total fuel costs increased by $43,720,261 from $85,767,287 in 2007 to $129,487,548, as the average price for a barrel of fuel was 41.49 percent above 2007, rising from $84.36 to $126.11 in 2008. A fuel adjustment rate of 20.5 cents per kWh from September through November was the highest ever. Fuel adjustment finally began decreasing in December and is continuing to decrease in 2009. BELCO was able to achieve greater fuel efficiency of 707 kWh per barrel of fuel compared with 705 kWh in 2007. This improved performance is attributed to relatively consistent day and evening loads and increased availability and use of diesel plant, which is more efficient than gas turbines. The peak load on our system increased 1.78 percent on 23 September, at 8 pm. when the demand reached 119.8 MW compared to 117.7 in 2007. Maximum evening loads closely approximate daytime loads, indicating that high levels of demand for electricity are being maintained for longer periods.
BELCO invested $21,794,926 in energy infrastructure projects and financial systems during 2008. This included work associated with energy supply planning and enhanced protection systems at the power station site. On the energy delivery system there were large transmission and distribution projects to meet new customer demand, increase power flow, improve reliability and allow for the possibility of distributed generation in the future. The company also invested in a new customer information system that went live in January 2009.
Integrated Energy Plan
In our effort to attract renewable energy providers to Bermuda, we have invited five successful respondents to our Solicitation of Interest to present their technologies to Government and the public. Principals representing proposals for photovoltaic, wind, biomass, waste-to-energy and ocean will be presenting their technologies at public forums scheduled for Tuesday, 31 March and Tuesday, 7 April at North Hall at The Bermuda College. For further information, please check BELCO's website at www.empoweringprogress.bm or call our External Relations and Corporate Communications department at 298-6126 for further information.
I am sure we will have much more to share with you in May, and look forward to seeing you at the AGM on the 20 May.