(NYSE:EDE) The Empire District Electric Company, an operator of regulated electric, gas and water utilities, announced today the results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2012.
- The Company reported consolidated earnings for the year ended December 31, 2012 of $55.7 million, or basic and diluted earnings per share of $1.32. This compares to 2011 earnings of $54.9 million, or $1.31 per share. Earnings for the 2012 fourth quarter were $9.6 million, or $0.23 per share, compared with 2011 fourth quarter earnings of $8.7 million, or $0.21 per share.
- Results for 2012 were positively affected by increased electric gross margins. Electric and gas revenues and margins were negatively affected in 2012 by milder weather compared to 2011. However, improving electric customer counts coupled with a full year of increased electric customer rates drove a positive change in year over year gross margin.. Results were also positively impacted by decreased depreciation expense resulting from decreased regulatory amortization which ended during 2011. This positive increase was offset, though, by increases in electric operating expenses.
- On October 18, 2012, a unanimous agreement between the Company, the MPSC staff and the Office of Public Counsel was filed with the MPSC for an annual increase in revenues of approximately $450,000 for our Missouri water customers. The MPSC issued an order approving the agreement on October 31, 2012. Rates became effective November 23, 2012.
- The Company expects 2013 earnings to be within the range of $1.26 to $1.43 per share.
Electric segment gross margin (electric revenue less fuel and purchased power costs) increased approximately $7.8 million during the twelve months ended December 31, 2012, reflecting a decrease in revenues of approximately $13.6 million and a decrease in electric fuel and purchased power expenses of approximately $21.4 million compared to 2011. Milder weather during the 2012 period compared to the 2011 period reduced electric revenue approximately $25.6 million. This negative impact was partially offset by a full year of electric customer rate increases for our Missouri customers, adding approximately $12.0 million to revenue and positively impacting gross margin compared to the 2011 period. Improving electric customer counts added approximately $4.2 million during 2012, as customers continued to return to the system following the May 2011 tornado. As of December 31, 2012, our system-wide electric customer count, which includes the effects of the tornado, was down approximately 400 customers from pre-storm levels. This compares to a decrease of approximately 1,800 customers at December 31, 2011. A change in our estimate for unbilled revenue contributed approximately $3.0 million to revenues and margin during 2012. Decreases in non-volume fuel expenses also increased margin by approximately $4.3 million over last year. Electric off-system and miscellaneous revenues decreased approximately $7.2 million during 2012 compared to 2011.
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