Belfast Telegraph

Company Report: Mutual Energy


John Simpson

By John Simpson

Mutual Energy Ltd owns the Moyle electricity interconnector from Islandmagee to Scotland, the natural gas pipeline from Scotland to Ballylumford, the natural gas pipelines to Belfast from Ballylumford and the extended north-west gas network known as West Transmission.

Mutual Energy is controlled by a board of directors elected from its 28 members. During the most recent trading year, former chair Regina Finn stood down and David Grey has been elected.

After a period of years when Mutual Energy was coping with exceptional costs in the repair and maintenance of the under-sea electricity interconnector from Scotland to Ballylumford, the trading results of the last three years now reflect the successful uninterrupted expansion of the several businesses which are part of the organisation.

Financial turnover increased modestly in each of the last two years, reaching £65m in 2018-19. Just under half of total turnover, £31m, was earned by the Moyle Interconnector and £23m was earned by Premier Transmission Group, the business importing natural gas from Scotland. Other revenue earners were the Belfast Gas Transmission Group and the West Transmission Group, which is building the gas network to the western areas of Northern Ireland.

An analysis of the trading results for each of these businesses shows that the Moyle Interconnector made a pre-tax profit of £13.6m while the Premier Transmission Group recorded a small loss of £0.4m and Belfast Transmission Group showed a pre-tax loss of £5.1m. The Moyle Interconnector supplied just over 15% of the electricity used in Northern Ireland.

Mutual Energy has an operational natural gas project at Maydown to deliver on the promise of gas to seven towns in the west. That business recorded a pre-tax profit of £1.7m in 2018-19.

The largest expenditure each year is the cost of interest on borrowed capital. In the year to March 2019, interest costs were £18.9m, down from £19.9m a year ago. Longer-term borrowing increased in 2018-19 by £180m as investment in the gas network in the western area continued.

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