The strategic development and efficiency program, introduced in 2017, in which group processes are assessed, centralized and digitized, has a positive effect on the Group's results. The benefits of the planned effectiveness program are estimated at € 30 million. Latvenergo the number of employees has decreased by 14% since early 2017, or nearly 600 employees. The AS plays an important role in implementing the efficiency program Distribution network. The most important Distribution network The implementation of the activities in the implementation of the effectiveness plan is digitization, process review, installation of smart meters for more than 500,000 households, reduction of the number of transport units and optimization of distribution bases. In total the number of employees Distribution network has been reduced by 500 employees.
During the first six months of this year, the Group produced 3,119 GWh of electricity, which significantly increased the development of the thermal plant in Riga by 29% to 1135 GWh. For example, the Riga TEC has secured a region with the necessary electricity in conditions where the dry and warmer time of hydropower development was observed on the market.
The climatic conditions also had a negative effect on the development of the Daugava hydroelectric power station (HES) – with a lower tributary, it decreased by 12% compared to last year and is 1977 GWh. Despite the reduction in the development of Daugava HPP, electricity from renewable sources accounts for 63% of total production.
The amount of heat produced in the first half of 2018 is 8% lower compared to the first half of last year and reaches 1442 GWh. The decline was influenced by the increasing competitive conditions with the arrival of four new heat sources in the thermal energy market in Riga.
During the reporting period, customers in the Baltic States sold a total of 3.3 tonnes of electricity (TWh). Outside Latvia, the total number of customers reaches almost 35,000, which is about one third of the total retail sales.
It continued to increase in the reporting period Latvenergo Group sells natural gas and number of customers. The company pointed out that the opening of the natural gas market has made it possible to diversify natural gas stocks, thus guaranteeing the most competitive price, which is especially important. Latvenergo as the other largest natural gas consumer in the Baltic states. In the first half of 2018, the group consumed a quantity of natural gas of 3.2 TWh and sold it to customers.
total LLatvenergo The Group's investment in the first half of 2018 grew by 4% compared to the first six months of last year and amounts to 96.6 million euros. 80% of the total investment was made in upgrading networks with the aim of ensuring higher quality and reliability of services. During the reconstruction of Daugava HPP hydro units, which will guarantee their operation over the next 40 years, 11 million euros were invested during this half year, whereas they were 139.4 million euros on 30 June this year.
In turn, the project Kurzeme Circle In the third phase, a total of 71.7 million euros was invested. The Third Interconnection of Electricity Transmission project between Estonia and Latvia will also be continued. During the reporting period, an agreement was signed with the general contractor and the development of the construction project and design was started.