Let me start with a brief discussion of our second quarter results. Excluding merger-related costs, we earned $0.45 per share this year compared to $0.44 last year. There were several items that contributed to this $0.01 change, which equates to about a 2.3% earnings increase.
First, the addition of NSTAR to NU's reported results had a very positive impact as NSTAR Electric's distribution and transmission operations contributed approximately $0.19 to the quarter's results. However, the impact of these earnings was exactly offset by the higher level of shares outstanding, which increased to 314 million shares from NU's 177 million shares last year as a result of the merger.
Second, transmission earnings from CL&P, public service in New Hampshire and Western Mass together increased the quarter's results by about $0.05 per share and reflect our continued investment in transmission infrastructure. That increase occurred primarily in Western Mass where earnings more than doubled this quarter as a result of the pace of investment in the Greater Springfield Project.
NU parent and other company earnings also had a positive impact on the quarter, contributing about $0.03 per share versus 2011. Reflecting NSTAR communications earnings, as well as lower interest expense at the parent.Factors that had a negative impact on the quarter included an increase in O&M costs, which reduced earnings by approximately $0.02 per share. That decline was due primarily to higher nontracked pension and health care costs. An increase in other operating costs, primarily related to higher depreciation and amortization and higher property taxes, reduced earnings by another $0.03 per share. A decline in Electric sales reduced earnings by $0.01 per share and can be largely attributable to successful implementation of various energy efficiency programs. And lastly, higher interest expense cost us another $0.01 per share. These results were very much in line with our internal expectations and spot on with Wall Street's estimate for the quarter. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com