IBERDROLA USA News
Iberdrola Chairman Reiterates Commitment to Invest in Key Networks Projects in US
ROCHESTER, NY - Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galán today said the company would continue to invest in key energy infrastructure projects such as transmission lines and smart metering in New York and Maine where stable and predictable regulatory environments exist.
Addressing the Annual General Meeting in Bilbao, he said that despite the crisis, Iberdrola invested €8.2 billion ($10.3 billion USD) last year and made purchases totalling €5.3 billion ($6.7 billion USD) across the world, and 1,900 people joined the company not including those from its acquisition of Brazilian electricity distributor Elektro.
Galán told shareholders that since the beginning of the economic crisis in Europe, IBERDROLA is the only major European electricity group to have maintained stable profit and shareholder remuneration.
In the United States, he said electricity demand in Iberdrola operating areas remained stable last year, despite a 0.8% drop across the country. Galán said, "In our networks business we enjoy regulatory stability in Maine and New York where we operate, regions where remuneration regimes are in place until 2014."
Galán told shareholders that construction continued on time and on budget in Maine on the €1.1 billion ($1.4 billion USD) Maine Power Reliability Programme: an 800 km transmission line, five new substations and the upgrading of others already in place. In 2011, Iberdrola USA invested €260 million ($327 million USD) in the project which now employs 2,700 workers and the impact of project spending in the Maine economy may have spurred the creation of as many as 900 new jobs in businesses linked to the project. Construction continues on schedule for 2012, with capital spending averaging close to €800,000 ($1 million USD) per day through May.
"Also in Maine, the AMI project which will provide our customers with a state-of-the-art energy delivery system is nearing completion,” Galán reported. The installation phase of the advanced metering initiative (AMI) also known as “smart” meters is winding down, with the last of the 620,000 meters scheduled to be placed in early July. The AMI wireless mesh network is now providing nearly 90% of the monthly billing data, and that number is growing as more meters are installed.
In New York, the two regulated utilities, NYSEG and RG&E, continue to invest in infrastructure with more than €330 million ($414 million USD) in 2012 planned expenditures for new electric and and natural gas transmission and distribution lines, substation and other system upgrades, and hydropower expansion. Galan stated, “Iberdrola continues to invest in modernizing its delivery systems and automating its networks in order to operate safely and more effectively and provide better benefits to our customers.”
Galán said training and job creation were two keys to dealing with the current economic crisis, saying that in addition to the 1,900 new hires, 700 young people carried out internships in the company last year. The Iberdrola Foundation has promoted a number of post-grad and doctoral scholarships for energy research at international academic institutions, including the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Maine.
Referring to the current Eurozone crisis, Galán said Iberdrola has been largely shielded from the effects thanks to its strategy of international diversification. Answering shareholder questions, he said group results for the first six months should continue the moderate EBITDA growth seen in the first quarter and that provided there is no serious deterioration in the economic or regulatory environment he hopes to maintain dividend policy.
In this respect, he said investments will be “moderated” but will continue in markets such as the US and the UK that offer predictability and short execution periods, with a focus on networks and to a lesser degree on generation, both traditional and renewable.
With respect to events at home, he said, “Spain has the opportunity to transform its economy into one that is more sustainable, competitive and deregulated.” For this to occur, he said it was vital to modernize the labour, financial and fiscal legislation, and revive the real economy through reindustrialization.
“Public sector administrations, companies and private individuals must reduce their exposure to debt and efforts must be made to revive the country’s industrial base, without which it will be difficult to grow and create jobs,” he said, adding that energy is one Spanish sector that can make a positive contribution with the right regulatory framework.
About Iberdrola USA: Iberdrola USA, a subsidiary of global energy leader Iberdrola, S.A., is an energy services and delivery company serving about 2.7 million customers throughout upstate New York and New England. For more information about Iberdrola USA, visit www.iberdrolausa.com. For more information about Iberdrola S.A., visit www.iberdrola.com .