Iberdrola Chairman: Company continues to invest in infrastructure projects in New York, Maine

Iberdrola SA Chairman Ignacio Galán said June 22 that the company continues to invest in energy infrastructure projects including transmission lines and smart metering in New York and Maine.

The company’s two regulated utilities in New York, New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) are investing more than $414m this year in planned expenditures for new electric and natural gas transmission and distribution lines, substation and other system upgrades and hydropower expansion, Iberdrola said.

Dan Hucko, director of media relations for Iberdrola subsidiary Iberdrola USA, told TransmissionHub June 25 that NYSEG will invest $152.1m in electric infrastructure and $40.3m in natural gas infrastructure, while RG&E will invest $33.2m in natural gas infrastructure and $181.8m in electric infrastructure, including on new transmission lines and transformers.

According to the companies’ five year capital investment plan filed with New York state regulators in April, RG&E’s projects include the Rochester Area Reliability Program project, which is in the engineering and permitting phase and has an in-service date of 2016.

“We expect to get the permits to start that work by the end of this calendar year,” Hucko said of the $250m project, adding that construction may begin next year.

NYSEG’s projects include installing 115-kV capacitor banks, according to the plan, which also noted installation of such capacitor banks “will lower system losses.” The project will be funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy through the New York ISO.

From 2012 to 2016, Iberdrola will invest $1.8bn in electric upgrades in New York, Hucko said, adding that $886m will be spent in NYSEG and $918m in RG&E.

Galán told shareholders at the annual general meeting in Bilbao, “Iberdrola continues to invest in modernizing its delivery systems and automating its networks in order to operate safely and more effectively and provide better benefits to our customers.”

He also said construction continued on time and on budget on Central Maine Power’s $1.4bn Maine Power Reliability Program project. Central Maine Power is a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA. Last year, Iberdrola USA invested $327m in the project, which Iberdrola said employs 2,700 workers. The impact of project spending, which averages close to $1m per day through May, may have spurred the creation of up to 900 new jobs in businesses linked to the project, the company said.

According to TransmissionHub data, the Maine Power Reliability Program is a 440-mile, 345-kV transmission line that begins at Eliot and ends at Orrington, Maine. The project is set to be complete in 2015.

The project includes the construction of six new substations and expansion or modification to 40 other substations. The project is the largest in the state’s history with work being done in 13 of the 16 Maine counties. It includes the new construction of 184 miles of 345-kV and 100 miles of 115-kV lines, as well as 156 miles of rebuild.

“Also in Maine, the [advanced metering initiative (AMI)] project, which will provide our customers with a state-of-the-art energy delivery system is nearing completion,” Galán said, as noted in the statement.

The installation phase of the AMI, also known as “smart” meters, is winding down, with the remaining 620,000 meters scheduled to be placed in early July, the company said, adding that the AMI wireless mesh network provides almost 90% of the monthly billing data, and that number is growing as more meters are installed. 

Iberdrola invested $10.3bn last year and made purchases totaling $6.7bn across the world, Galán said.

He also said that electricity demand in Iberdrola’s operating areas in the United States remained stable last year, despite a 0.8% drop across the country. “In our networks business we enjoy regulatory stability in Maine and New York where we operate, regions where remuneration regimes are in place until 2014,” he said.

On the current Eurozone crisis, Galán said Iberdrola has been largely shielded from the effects thanks to its strategy of international diversification. He also said group results for the first six months should continue the moderate EBITDA growth seen in the first quarter and that, provided there is no serious deterioration in the economic or regulatory environment, he hopes to maintain dividend policy, the statement added.

Investments will be “moderated” but will continue in such markets as the U.S., and the United Kingdom that offer predictability and short execution periods, with a focus on networks and to a lesser degree on generation – traditional and renewable, he said.

Among other things, he said, “Spain has the opportunity to transform its economy into one that is more sustainable, competitive and deregulated.” For this to happen, Galán said it is important to modernize the labor, financial and fiscal legislation, and revive the real economy through reindustrialization.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.