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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Hydro-Quebec earned $2.94-billion profit in 2013 on higher export power sales

MONTREAL - Hydro-Quebec earned $2.94 billion in profits last year, up from $860 million in 2012 when it absorbed large losses from the decision to close a nuclear power plant.

Exports outside the province and cost reductions helped the public utility generate the record $2.938 billion of earnings from continuing operations, up 7.4 per cent from $2.74 billion in the prior year.

Net exports, including short-term purchases, rose to $1.35 billion due to higher power output, more favourable market conditions and the depreciation of the Canadian dollar. The exports generated $622 million of earnings.

A cold spell across North America caused energy prices to rise to 4.4 cents per kWh.

Total revenues increased 5.7 per cent to $12.88 billion from $12.14 billion.

The results included a $122-million reduction in electricity purchases from Rio Tinto Alcan.

Dividends paid to the Quebec government increased to $2.2 billion from $645 million in 2012 and $1.96 billion in 2011.

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