The 2010–11 financial year was a period of significant change and strong corporate performance by Endeavour Energy.
Our retail business and brand was sold to Origin in March 2011; we delivered a record capital investment of $496 million in our electricity network; we reduced our operating costs by $26 million compared to budget and we achieved a best-ever performance for network reliability.
The year also saw unprecedented public scrutiny placed on the efficiency and costs of the industry due to continued price increases against a background of concern for the impact of a future carbon tax on electricity prices.
We are pleased to report Endeavour Energy’s strategic planning process enabled the organisation to respond positively to the year’s challenges. Our plan centred on objectives designed to:
Despite our substantial focus on strengthening safety systems, we fell short of our target of zero harm to employees. Our lost-time injuries (LTI) performance of 24 incidents for 2010–11 represented a disappointing increase over the previous year’s 18 incidents.
We did, however, advance our Lifeguard program, aimed at reducing foreseeable risks of an employee not being fit for work due to fatigue, alcohol or other drugs and will continue this focus in 2011–12.
We also progressed our public safety program – a highlight of which was our $2 million per year black spot pole replacement program – designed to improve community safety through power pole relocations.
2010–11 was the second year of our five-year network investment plan approved by the Australian Energy Regulator. We delivered an overall record $496 million of the total annual budget of $518 million.
This investment aims to secure a safe and reliable electricity network for some of Australia’s fastest growing regional economies, including NSW’s two largest growth centres.
The increase in program delivery was the result of a peak resourcing model we established to provide us with the capability to efficiently and effectively deliver peak workloads without the need to increase employee numbers above what is sustainable in the long term. We also continued our intake of apprentices, with a further 60 new starters in 2010–11.
Endeavour Energy continues to make excellent progress in improving reliability and is now one of the nation’s top performers in overall reliability performance measured by the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI).
Whereas our target for unplanned SAIDI this year was 87 minutes, the actual normalised result – excluding interruptions allowed under our licence conditions – was 72 minutes. This is our best-ever performance.
After a year relatively free of major storms, Mother Nature unleashed a violent windstorm on Fathers’ Day 2010, which saw about 100,000 customers affected by 120 kilometre per hour winds. Hardest hit was the Shoalhaven area, later declared a natural disaster area by the NSW Government.
Power was safely restored to all customers four days later, a significant effort given the continuing havoc the gale force winds unleashed. This occurred without injury to any employees or the public. The effort reflects the pride and dedication of our people in protecting the health and safety of our customers and communities.
Customers connected to Endeavour Energy’s network are under pressure from the rising cost of living, including their electricity bills which have risen 62% since 2008.
While rising prices are a product of both retail and network factors, our customers clearly expect us to do everything we can to control future increases in network tariffs.
To that end, we pursued our second year of our organisation-wide plan to improve customer value through cost reductions and efficiency programs identified by our employees. This plan is expected to deliver savings of $35 million over three years, exceeding our voluntary commitment to the Australian Energy Regulator to reduce operating costs by 2% per year from 2009–2014.
We remain focused on further improving customer value in 2011–12, with plans to reduce corporate overheads by $22 million per year by 2013–2014 and reduce costs in our regional operations by $26 million per year without compromising safety or reliability.
These and other initiatives will assist us to control increases in our network tariffs to around CPI for the next two years.
We unveiled our new brand ‘Endeavour Energy’ on 1 March 2011 following the sale of our retail business assets to Origin Energy. Endeavour means ‘to make a serious and sincere effort’ and that resonates with our commitment to safely delivering a reliable, sustainable and efficient network for all our customers.
Our Transition Services Agreement (TSA) with Origin Energy began in March and covers sale-related issues such as transitioning retail intellectual property, people and processes, including our call centre and retail billing functions. This work is being completed against the backdrop of the NSW Government’s plans to merge NSW’s three electricity distribution businesses into two distributors.
These industry restructure plans are intended to save $400 million in combined operating costs over four years, by reducing overheads and delivering economies of scale. These savings will further contribute to our own efficiency initiatives and help fund rebates for people struggling to pay electricity bills.
As a state-owned corporation we have an obligation to pay a dividend to our shareholder, the NSW Government. The dividend is calculated as 70% of our net profit after tax. We returned $266 million in distributions, including income tax equivalents, to our shareholder in 2010–11
and delivered a net profit after tax of $245 million.
Notwithstanding the challenges experienced in the past year, we have made significant progress in improving the reliability of our network, reducing operating expenditure and building on solid strategic plans to continually improve the performance of our business.
On behalf of the Board and the Executive Leadership Team, we extend our thanks and appreciation to the serious and sincere effort made by the people of Endeavour Energy to achieve these outcomes. With ongoing support we will continue to provide reliable, value-for-money services to the 2.1 million Australians who depend on us for energy, and ensure a safe working environment for our employees, customers and communities, every day.