South Western Electricity (SWEB) distributes electricity to some 1.3 million customers in the South West section of the United Kingdom. The company is headquartered in Bristol, west of London, and serves three counties -- Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset. The Southwest has one of the country’s highest population growth rates and above-average economic growth.
SWEB was privatized in 1990. The company has achieved 17 percent cumulative growth in earnings and 17.5 percent cumulative growth in dividends over the five-year period since privatization.
Electricity businesses account for approximately 80 percent of the company’s profit before interest, tax, and a non-operating exception item to cover the cost of disposal of a retail business. Other business lines include telecommunications, public telephony in South Devon (through investment in Eurobell Ltd), and a gas subsidiary.
Electricity distributed for the year ended March 1995 amounted to 12,979 million units -- an increase of 0.8 percent from the previous year (a weather adjusted increase of 2.3 percent).
SWEB purchased 10,834 Gwh of electricity for the year ended March 1995 to meet customer needs. Some 10 percent of this amount was provided by the Teeside power station -- one of the world’s largest gas-fired power plants -- in which SWEB has a 7.7 percent equity stake. The company is also developing a range of renewable energy sources, including two biomass power plants, a landfill gas-fired plant, and a hydroelectric facility in North Wales.
SWEB’s capital assets (primarily its distribution network) have a value of more than 500 million pounds on an historical cost basis.
The company has approximately 5,000 employees. Over the past four years, the company has reduced staffing in the electricity business by 20 percent through voluntary measures.