09/14/2011 01:06 EDT | Updated 01/12/2012 02:18 EST

New Brunswick's power utility reports profit in first-quarter results

FREDERICTON - The provincial power utility in New Brunswick is reporting $58 million in first-quarter earnings this year after an $8-million loss for the same period in 2010-11.

Earlier this year, Energy Minister Craig Leonard mandated NB Power to begin providing quarterly financial statements to the public.

The financial report credits reduced administration costs and stronger than expected hydro generation for the change in the finances.

Ed Barrett, chairman of NB Power's board of directors, says because the utility is in the middle of a three-year rate freeze it must continue to cut costs.

Last week, NB Power reported a $67-million profit in the last fiscal year, but also said the utility's debt increased by $197 million.

It said the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant and other capital projects were a big drag on the bottom line.