PremierPower is the company which operates the several electricity generating plants at Ballylumford in Islandmagee. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary in the BG Group (formerly known as British Gas).
Premier Power is operating under the contracts that were amended in 2000 and for electricity sales in Northern Ireland this functions through the Power Purchasing Agreement as developed since the time of privatisation.
These contracts are capable of termination in 2010 if certain prior conditions are fulfilled. Some of the generating capacity has been used to sell electricity outside Northern Ireland.
After several years of increasing annual turnover, reaching a peak in 2006 at £240m, in 2007 turnover fell by 5% to just under £228m.
This change is probably best explained by other variations in the availability of electricity from Kilroot and Coolkeeragh, and in the relative cost of using different fuels where relative natural gas and coal prices determined the allocation of electricity load.
Premier Power presents its Northern Ireland accounts with no net interest charges. Pre-tax profit is the same as operating profit. However, the allocation of dividends and tax charges make a difference to the overall funds.
Dividend payments in 2007 rose to £40m from £30m in previous years. Combined with tax charges, the balance sheet value of shareholders funds fell from £76m at the end of 2005 to £75m a year later and now, at the end of 2007, to £58m.