We are pleased with hydro performance, although its been another eventful year, with new flood defence measures proving effective – during another “one in a one hundred” year flooding event November 2017, with the building and basement being rather like the hold of a ship and remaining dry.
We could not however prevent about 300 tonne of stone being deposited in the fish trap and fish pass, but used the same company as December 2015 having a massive hydraulic grab and eight wheeler lorries, helping get us back to full production in three weeks, just before Christmas.
Turning to finances; 4% interest on the original investment before the EIS tax relief is considered to be the norm, although given we are into a fixed routine of putting sums to one side each year to repay all investors by year 20 the flood damage cost has had to come out of profits, hence 3.4% will be paid this year for 2017. Another outgoing that follows a fixed arrangement, is the sum to the Halton Lune Trust for community benefits. This will be £6,200 for 2017 and will increase year on year as capital is repaid and the corresponding interest payment total reduces.
Holding a norm of 4% pa may also be affected by our future payment of corporation tax on profits. Accountants RFM have kept this his tax to near zero so far, by writing down the capital cost of construction, although even with measures being taken to mitigate, significant corporation tax will be paid from year 2020.
We very much appreciate the investment that you made in the Hydro to make it a success, but could now do with refunding more money than is currently being requested. To conform to our business model we have allocated £40k from 2017 and a further £70k for 2018 for share re-purchase. These sums are therefore available and we encourage investors to consider surrendering their shares back to the Company. This will be administered on a first come first served basis through application to the Secretary.
Staying with interest payments for a little longer, we have to tell you that the Cumberland Bank are withdrawing the use of letter cheques and we shall therefore need bank details of Name, Sort code and Account number for 2019 payments, so an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, would be appreciated – and noting that this information is not divulged to any third party. The voting slips also have provision to add these details, should you wish to let us know sooner, rather than later.
In parallel with these deep financial considerations, we have followed Environment Agency Abstraction Licence requirements to include:
- Submitting 15 minute average, water abstraction records to show that we have not taken more river water than we are entitled to, and especially leaving sufficient for the two fish passes by backing off turbine power, during low river flow conditions.
- Electronically counting fish up and down the fish pass throughout the year and demonstrating the counter to be accurate, using video recordings.
- Trapping (up to one hundred on occasions) and doing health checks to include taking scale samples.
- Installing a net on the water outlet for the third year, demonstrating that fish or elver (of which there are very few) has not suffered.
This environmental work, operation and maintenance rely very much on local people spending their time on site, that’s essential and very much appreciated.
We shall go into more detail at the AGM with a slide show and with member of the management team Jon Sear, covering the Environmental aspects.
John Blowes, C. Eng.