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Westar Energy CEO Discusses Q2 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Stocks in this article: WR

The available forward equity combined with $0.5 billion available under our credit lines gives us $0.75 billion of liquidity before including internally-generated cash. With respect to our credit lines, we will likely renegotiate our larger credit facility which comes due in March 2012 later this year.

While summer temps have been strong so far, as evidenced by a record peak demand last week, summer is not over. We're pleased with year-to-date results and happy to affirm earnings guidance for 2011 of $1.65 to $1.80 per share, which excludes an additional $0.11 per share will record as a result of settling arbitration of the two former executives and reversing related reserves.

Guidance is conditioned on typical factors, including such things as weather, the economy, COLI proceeds, which none have been received so far this year, and other factors we can't control, all of which we detailed on our supplemental materials.

Now, before turning the call over to Mark, here is a quick update on our major construction projects, all of which are going well. Our $100 million multiyear 345 kV line from Wichita to Oklahoma is trending favorable with respect to both budget and schedule. Right now, it's trending about 10% favorable on cost and a couple of months ahead of schedule.

The 20 or so smaller transmission projects totaling about $125 million, this year are progressing according to plan with respect to both schedule and budget.

As planned, the KCC approved the route for Prairie Wind, a 345 kV joint venture line running west from Wichita. Now that we have the route, we're gearing up to acquire right of way and start detailed engineering.

We anticipate construction in the field to begin by the middle of next year with a target completion by late 2014. Prior to detailed design, we've estimated the project cost to be about $225 million with Westar's investment to be out $50 million to $60 million. Even though construction has yet to begin, the FERC has already approved Prairie Winds transmission formula rate. This allows us to begin recovering this quarter deferred startup cost.

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