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Valener utility leans on Tesla battery banks to get through Vt. heatwave

Valener Inc.'s Green Mountain Power Corp. used stored power in customers' homes and its own battery banks to get through the worst of Vermont's recent heatwave.

The Quebec-owned electricity utility relied on batteries made by Tesla Inc. to lower power costs during high temperatures in late June and early July, said Sophie Brochu, president and CEO of Énergir LP and a member of Valener's management team, on an Aug. 9 earnings call. "During the heatwave that hit us all last month the network of Tesla Powerwall batteries installed by [Green Mountain] in customers' homes directly contributed to lower energy cost as GMP was able to avoid purchasing higher-cost power during the peak," she said.

The home batteries, combined with other batteries used for storage at Green Mountain's solar power facilities, helped cut power costs by close to C$500,000, Brochu said. The utility uses 500 of the Tesla-manufactured batteries to store power from its solar plants and from the grid. "This innovative solution is an environmentally conscious way to manage energy while keeping customers comfortable, safe and lowering their energy bill," Brochu said. Valener is the public entity that gives shareholders access to Montreal-based Énergir, the former Gaz Metro LP, which is controlled by a group of Canadian companies and Quebec financial institutions.

For the third quarter of its fiscal 2018, Valener posted adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders of C$500,000, or 1 Canadian cent per share, a drop from C$2.5 million, or 6 Canadian cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. Énergir contributed third fiscal quarter adjusted net income attributable to partners of C$3.5 million, compared with C$11.1 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017. Normalized operating cash flows rose to C$12.8 million, or 33 Canadian cents per common share, compared with C$14.4 million, or 37 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.