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Piedmont Natural Gas Management Discusses Q3 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Slide 3 shows our seasonal net loss of $4.6 million, which is more than $4 million improved from the third quarter of last year. Growth in margin and increased contributions from SouthStar and Cardinal and lower interest expense more than offset an increase in O&M expense.

On Slide 4, we've highlighted our gross customer additions for both the quarter and the year. As you can see, third quarter customer gains of 2,670 customers were 19% higher than the third quarter of last year. And for the year-to-date, we've added 8,728 customers, which is 21% improved from the same period in 2011.

We're encouraged that growth was across all categories and every quarter this year. We believe our growth trend reflects an improvement in the new construction markets in our service territory, and they certainly reflect the competitive pricing dynamics of natural gas compared to other fuels in our conversion markets. As a result, we anticipate modest continued improvements and customer growth.

Turning to Slide 5. As you know, in 2009, we introduced a portfolio of 5 power generation delivery projects to serve new combined-cycle natural gas power generation facilities in North Carolina, all now owned by Duke Energy. Those projects total more than $500 million of capital expenditures for our company. On our last call, I announced that we placed the Wayne County project into service on June 1, joining our other completed projects at Richmond County and at the Buck and Dan River facilities. With 4 projects behind us, our effort now is focused on the Sutton project, the largest of all of the projects. All major material have been received for that project, and we broke ground last quarter. The project construction is going well, and Sutton remains on schedule for its targeted in-service date of June 2013.

With that, I'd now like to turn the call over to our Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Karl Newlin.

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