Australian utility Energex has said that its 2006-07 annual report has revealed that it invested more than A$1 billion in upgrading and maintaining southeast Queensland's electricity distribution network during this period.

The report also highlighted that Energex’s combined 2006-07 capital and operating expenditure of just over A$1 billion was up from A$863 million in the previous year, a rise of more than 15% and more than double the A$463 million spent in 2003-04.

To meet the rapid increase in demand for services and the growth of the electricity network, the company has increased its workforce considerably, with almost 1,000 additional staff members joining Energex in the last four years.

According to John Dempsey, acting chairman of Energex, the company’s record investment equates to spending an average of almost A$2.75 million a day to maintain and upgrade the electricity and gas networks in southeast Queensland.

Mr Dempsey said: Peak electricity summer and winter demands again rose to record levels mostly as a result of high economic and population growth and increased per capita consumption, including the use of domestic air conditioning.

In the past three years more than 100,000 additional homes and businesses have connected to Energex’s southeast Queensland electricity network – equivalent to an average of 3,000 new customers a month or almost 150 new connections every working day.