Profits slump by 97 per cent at Pennon

Profits at utility firm Pennon were hit by soaring costs in energy prices over the last 12 months.

The Exeter firm saw its profits after tax slump to £400,000 from £15.6m the previous year.

The company, which operates South West Water, Bournemouth Water and the recently acquired Bristol Water, said underlying revenue increased by 4.1 per cent to £825m over the last 12 months.

Chief executive Susan Davy said the business had been through an extraordinary year due to a number of factors.

The company had to deal with extreme weather conditions and inflationary pressures.

She added: “We have been able to respond to both, with agility and pace, focusing on the things that matter right now, and tackling the biggest challenges head on.

“Whether it’s the use of storm overflows, water resilience, the cost of living crisis or climate change, we are investing more than ever before. We are also investing for the future.”

The company added that it has risen to the challenge posed by the current focus on the environment.

Davy said: “We have delivered improvements in environmental performance, building on our sector leading 100 per cent water quality for our 860 miles of coastline and on track to reduce our use of storm overflows by 50 per cent by 2025. I am also clear that one pollution is one too many, and numbers are falling as we implement sustained change.

“Water is essential for life. As one of only two regions officially in drought, and with the hottest, driest, weather on record, we are investing to break through the drought cycle, deploying innovative solutions such as desalination, repurposing ex quarries and mines into mini reservoirs to create more capacity in Cornwall and Devon as and when it’s needed, and empowering customers to use less and save money.

“At Pennon, we believe that every customer should benefit from what we do especially in this cost of living crisis. With over £85 million customer benefits delivered, we have kept bills as low as possible, with below inflationary increases, considerably lower than the sector average of .seven per cent.

“We continue to focus on eradicating water poverty in our region, with many more customers benefiting from affordability and support tariffs.”