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By Kari Lundgren
LONDON - National Grid Plc, the operator of the U.K.’s power network, said first-half earnings were crimped after Hurricane Irene knocked out supplies to more than 30 percent of its U.S. customers.
Pretax profit increased 2 percent to 953 million pounds ($1.5 billion) in the six months ended Sept. 30 from 938 million pounds a year earlier, the London-based company said Thursday in a statement. Earnings would have risen by 19 percent excluding the costs of repairing the damage caused by the hurricane.
Irene cost the company about 69 million pounds, Finance Director Andrew Bonfield said on a conference call with journalists. Severe snow storms in the U.S. earlier this month cost it a further 50 million pounds, he said.
Irene, a Category 1 hurricane, struck the east coast on Aug. 27, knocking out power to as many as 6.69 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia, according to U.S. Energy Department estimates.
National Grid reported higher earnings from its liquified natural gas terminal at the Isle of Grain and its U.K. metering business. Faster inflation drove profits at the company’s regulated divisions in Britain.