THE NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT owned electricity generator and retailer, Mighty River Power, has reported an after tax surplus of US$23.3M for the financial year to 30 June, 2002, despite a significant reduction in hydro generation. This situation came from a low inflow hydrology and reduced hydro lake storage in winter 2001.

Board Chairman Rob Challinor says given the strong correlation between catchment rainfall and Mighty River Power’s operating performance, this year’s results were always going to reflect the low water storage position at the beginning of the financial year.

‘In these circumstances, we are very satisfied with these results. They bear the hallmarks of a disciplined, commercial approach to asset utilisation and to our increasingly efficient use of water in the Taupo-Waikato hydro system. Producing positive financial outcomes from a trading year characterised by poor hydrology was one outcome of the company’s capacity to quickly adjust its water resource management operations,’ he said.

Challinor added that flexibility is at the heart of the company’s current approach to operating the Waikato hydro system because, under the Resource Management Act, Mighty River Power needs to ensure the most efficient and productive use of its hydro-generation capacity to meet anticipated consumer demand and assist in overall security of supply. Catchment inflows were 17% lower than the long-term average and 13% below the previous year.