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Hydro One sees drop in Q1 profit, higher rates, consumption increase revenue

TORONTO - Hydro One Inc. reported a seven per cent drop in net income in the first quarter, as Ontario's provincially owned electricity distribution company faced higher operating, maintenance and administration costs.

The holding company, which operates subsidiaries involved in electricity transmission and distribution and the telecom industries, said Wednesday that it earned $240 million in net income for the three months ended March 31. That compared with $257 million for the same period a year earlier.

Hydro One said it was able to offset some of the higher costs through an increase in transmission rates, while extremely cold winter increased demand as revenue rose to $1.7 billion from $1.6 billion in the same quarter of 2013.

The company paid $199 million in dividends to the province in the quarter and $22 million in payments in lieu of corporate income taxes to the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation.

"In the first quarter of 2014, Hydro One drove strong financial performance while making important investments in our system that improve reliability and service for our customers," president and chief executive Carmine Marcello said in a statement.

"The company will remain focused on providing solid returns and continuing our critical investment programs to address end-of-life assets, improve our systems' reliability and performance and address aging power system infrastructure."

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