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Hydro Quebec's dividend falls by a quarter as exports decline

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Hydro Quebec's net income and the dividend paid to the Quebec government fell by more than a quarter in 2023, while its exports declined due to low water levels.

The utility announced on Wednesday that its net income fell by $1.3 billion, or 27.8 per cent, to $3.3 billion in 2023. Net income was higher than the average for the last ten years. The dividend paid to the Quebec government, meanwhile, has dropped by a quarter, from $3.4 billion in 2022 to $2.5 billion in 2023.

"On the financial front, after an exceptional year in 2022, the company had to contend with low water levels, falling prices on energy markets and milder temperatures in Quebec," said Maxime Aucoin, vice-president of strategy and finance, in a press release.

In 2023, Hydro Quebec's exports fell by 35 per cent compared with the same period last year. However, lower prices on international markets were offset by the use of derivatives. Sales outside Quebec therefore had a negative impact of $547 million on net income.

In Quebec, rate indexing had a positive impact of $471 million on the Crown utility's sales. The milder winter of 2023, however, eroded revenues by $349 million year-over-year.

Hydro Quebec's operating expenses rose by $288 million, mainly due to increased maintenance work and technological expenses.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Feb. 21, 2024.

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