A strong performance from ScottishPower’s renewables business was a highlight of Spanish parent Iberdrola’s third-quarter results, as the Scottish business also hit out again yesterday at the proposed energy price cap.
Underlying earnings at ScottishPower Renewables jumped a third to £211.6 million from £157m in Q3 of 2016. It said total wind power production rose 34 per cent so far in 2017, with a 37 per cent uplift in onshore wind alone during Q3.
It came as the £650m two-year programme to build eight new onshore wind farms in Scotland was completed in the latest quarter.
Keith Anderson, ScottishPower’s chief corporate officer, said: “ScottishPower continues to invest heavily to deliver a clean, reliable and fairer electricity system for the UK despite continued political uncertainty.”
Anderson revealed that underlying earnings in its energy networks arm fell to £567.2m from £580.9m due to the £660m being invested in its transmission and distribution networks in 2017.
Domestic electricity and gas demand both fell more than 6 per cent “due to milder weather”, the company said, with generation and supply earnings falling 75 per cent to £46.5m from £187m.
The retail business saw earnings fall £93m to £59.4m, while generation made a loss of £12.9m compared with a profit last time of £34.8m. Customer numbers at the end of the quarter were 5.22m, down from 5.34m in Q3 2016.
Anderson said there necessary investment “to ensure our infrastructure is ready for the next stage of decarbonisation from the transport and heating sectors”.
He also repeated ScottishPower’s opposition to the proposed price cap. “Our view remains that the proposed price cap will not help to engage those customers who could still find a better deal. It will be bad for consumers, energy companies big and small, as well as investor confidence,” Anderson added.
“The key question the government needs to answer is whether they still believe customers benefit most from free market competition. If they do, any intervention must be designed to increase consumer engagement, which is the biggest thing wrong in this sector.
“Otherwise, we would urge the government to opt for a fully regulated market. We need clarity one way or the other.”
Net profit at parent group Iberdrola rose 18 per cent to €2.41 billion (£2.12bn).