(Reuters) - National Grid Plc (NG.L) reported a 21 percent rise in first-half pretax profit and put a figure of 100 million pounds ($158.5 million) on the cost of restoring some of its services on the U.S. East Coast following Superstorm Sandy.
Restoration costs outside The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) service area are not expected to exceed that figure, but it could rise if claims or actions are brought against National Grid for any delay in restoring power to this region.
National Grid’s contract with LIPA to run day-to-day operations of its electric utility business has put it in the news after more than 90 percent of LIPA’s 1.1 million customers lost power due to Sandy.
Some customers are yet to have their power restored more than two weeks after the hurricane battered the U.S. East Coast.
“We continue to work with LIPA to restore service in a safe and timely manner to those where flood damage and other factors have limited the ability to restore service to date,” National Grid said in a statement.
UK-based National Grid and LIPA were hit with a class action lawsuit over allegedly handling power outages negligently.
Hurricane Irene, which struck the same region in the United States last year, had also hurt National Grid in the first half of last year. The company had recorded 71 million pounds in costs associated with the hurricane.
Britain’s biggest energy distributor, which provides gas and electricity transmission and distribution services in the UK and the United States, said pretax profit from continuing operations for the six months ended September 30 2012 reached 1.15 billion pounds.
First-half profit this year was boosted by National Grid’s UK transmission business, where operating profit rose 18 percent to 712 million pounds.
Shares in the company were down 1 percent to 687 pence at 0813 GMT on Thursday on the London Stock Exchange. ($1 = 0.6310 British pounds)
Reporting by Brenton Cordeiro; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters and David Holmes