Alliander: more work done despite COVID-19, but higher costs

30 July 2020
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, Alliander has connected more customers, laid more cables and invested more in the power grid over the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period last year. This puts the network company on course to structurally increase its work rate. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations and the higher tariffs charged by Tennet, costs were up. As a result, the net profit for the first half of 2020 came in €29 million lower than in the same period in 2019 (2019: €121 million, 2020: €92 million).

Maarten Otto, Alliander’s CEO: “Given that our energy networks are part of the Netherlands’ essential infrastructure, we have done everything within our power during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure our work could go ahead as much as possible and even to accelerate it. This is important, because without energy everything would come to a standstill. We have adapted to the situation and shown flexibility to help our customers as well as possible. We are unrelenting in continuing our work on the energy networks, so as to be able to keep offering a reliable and affordable energy supply, also in the future.”

COVID-19 impact

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations varies greatly per activity. All work inside the homes of our customers was stopped entirely over the first period after the COVID-19 broke out. This has led to delays in the roll-out of the smart meter, which will now carry on into 2021. On the other hand, we connected 13% more large business customers to the energy grid. And work on medium-voltage stations and cable connections also continued unaffected. Over the first six months of 2020, a total of 577 kilometres of medium-voltage cable was laid, an increase of 250 kilometres compared to the same period in 2019 (+77%). On top of that, 435 new medium-voltage stations were built, 157 more than in the first half of 2019 (+56%). Total investment in the power grid was up €32 million to €263 million in the first half of 2020 (+14% compared to 2019).
Walter Bien, CFO: “Over the last six months, costs increased by €81 million compared to the first six months of 2019. Part of this can be attributed to the higher tariffs that Tennet can charge the regional transmission system operators from this year. However, the costs of our higher production and the impact of the COVID-19 measures on operations also contributed towards this effect, and will have an impact on our results for the whole year. Revenue was down in several areas, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of our large business customers, for example, have reduced their power consumption since the start of the outbreak. Given that they are on pay-per-use contracts for the use of our network, our revenue in this segment fell.”

Regional Energy Strategies

Together with local authorities, provincial authorities and other stakeholders, we are working full steam on the Regional Energy Strategies (RES). Especially given the need to integrate power from renewable sources, such as wind and solar farms, the power grid will at least have to be doubled to be able to meet new levels of demand. This means we are going to have to scale up our operations. Over the coming 10 years, we need to build just as much electricity infrastructure as has been built over the past 40 years, and so we need to work faster. With this in mind, we are working closely together with all parties involved to further flesh out the RES plans, so as to create greater clarity on the impact on network capacity, which is a precondition for timely completion of the infrastructure expansion.

Financial results

Alliander’s net profit for the first half of 2020 came in at €92 million (2019: €121 million). Operating income for the first six months was up €39 million to €1,010 million (2019: €971 million). Operating expenses totalled €866 million in the first half of 2020, compared to €785 million in the same period in 2019.

Download Alliander Half Year Report 2020 (PDF)