HYDRO Tasmania's $248 million before-tax loss is less concerning than an unexplained increase in costs, industry sources have said.
The government-owned power company has defended its accounting practices after figures in its annual report, released this week, prompted allegations from the state opposition that the company had misled Tasmanians about the strength of its results.
Hydro Tasmanian chairman David Crean announced last week that the company had made a record $238 million profit, returning a $116 million dividend to the state government.
But the annual report shows a significant before-tax loss, caused by debt it acquired along with the Tamar Valley Power Station earlier this year.
Opposition energy spokesman Mathew Groom wrote to Mr Crean yesterday, saying the public had a right to be fully informed of the company's financial position when the profit was announced and suggesting the full results had been delayed until the end of the parliamentary week to protect the government from scrutiny.
In a statement released yesterday, Mr Crean said Hydro had always reported its after-tax profit, and said it was in a ``strong cash position''.
``The suggestion that this was devised to meet the needs of the government can therefore not be correct,'' he said.
Resources Minister Bryan Green said Mr Groom's comment was an ``outrageous slur''.
``The fact that the value of the Tamar Valley Power Station was written down last financial year has absolutely no impact on the company's underlying operating result or returns to government,'' Mr Green said.
Mr Green said the value of the Tamar Valley Power Station would increase if there was a drought. He has previously denied suggestions it had been ``mothballed''.
Industry analyst Stephen Weston said it made sense for Hydro to write down the debt in a high-revenue year, and the more concerning indicator was its high costs.
Mr Weston said it was difficult from the report to project if those costs would decrease in line with lower revenue expected with the axing of the carbon tax next year.