I would now like to turn the call over to Ralph Izzo, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Public Service Enterprise Group. Joining Ralph on the call is Caroline Dorsa, Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer. At the conclusion of their remarks, there will be time for your questions.
Thank you, Kathleen, and thank you, everyone, for joining us today. Earlier this morning, we reported operating earnings for the first quarter of 2012 of $0.85 per share, which equaled the operating earnings from 2011's first quarter. Our results for the first quarter are strong in the face of a continued sharp decline in the price of natural gas and a very mild winter. The date indicates that the first quarter of 2012 was the warmest since 1970, and that March of 2012 tied March of 1945 in terms of average temperature as the mildest March since 1895. Let me remind you, that this is the earliest the national weather service began keeping records.
And if you can follow all those years, that basically says this is the tie for first as the warmest March in history. So our results were very strong in the face of these headwinds. In a few minutes, Caroline will review our earnings in greater detail. At the end of the call, you will have an understanding of our first quarter and outlook and how we've been able to report better-than-expected earnings. As always, our competitiveness is greatly aided by our employees, who continued to perform at the top of their profession. At PSEG Power, this was exhibited in the quarter by our Fossil employees, who took cost control to a new level. The alignment of expenses with operations demonstrates their understanding of the need to control costs in the current price environment. The focus on operating efficiency and the increased availability from our combined cycle assets positions us well in the power markets.