ROTHSCHILD, Wis., May 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- At Wisconsin Energy's (NYSE: WEC) annual meeting of stockholders, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Gale Klappa described 2012 as a remarkable year with milestones in customer satisfaction, employee safety, and network reliability.
Klappa cited the following 2012 highlights:
- For the fourth quarter of 2012, the company achieved the best customer satisfaction ratings since the merger of Wisconsin Electric and Wisconsin Gas in 2000.
- We Energies was named the most reliable utility in the Midwest for the eighth time in the past 11 years by an independent consulting firm.
- Best overall safety results in company history. An improvement of nearly 75 percent since 2003 in both recordable incidents and lost-time accidents.
- Named for the sixth year in a row as one of the nation's best corporate citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. The publication evaluates approximately 1,000 publicly held companies on the basis of environmental performance, employee relations, philanthropy, finance, and governance practices.
- The highest net income in company history.
- Earnings from continuing operations of $2.35 per share – a 7.8 percent increase over the $2.18 per share recorded in 2011.
- Through the end of 2012, repurchased nearly $152 million of Wisconsin Energy stock at an average price of $32.63 a share.
- Wisconsin Energy's total return to shareholders has significantly outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, NASDAQ, the S&P Electric Index, and the Philadelphia Utility Index over the past 10 years. Wisconsin Energy's total shareholder return, assuming reinvested dividends, was 63 percent over three years, 76.2 percent over five years, 129.5 percent over seven years, and 285.2 percent over 10 years.
- Raised the dividend by 13.3 percent in January 2013, to an annual rate of $1.36 per share.
- Klappa said the goal is to increase the company's dividend payout to 65 to 70 percent of earnings in 2017 – a level more competitive with other regulated energy companies. This policy should support a double-digit increase in the dividend in 2014 and 7 to 8 percent growth in the years 2015 through 2017.
- Completed the air quality control upgrades for the four older units at the Oak Creek Power Plant site on time and on budget. At just under $900 million, this was the second largest construction project in company history.
- Between 2000 and 2013, power plant capacity increased by 50 percent, while systemwide emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury, and particulate matter decreased by 80 percent.
- The 50-megawatt biomass cogeneration plant being constructed in Rothschild is nearly 80 percent complete and targeted for completion by the end of 2013.
- Ratify Deloitte & Touche LLP as independent auditors for 2013.
- Approve the compensation of the company's named executive officers (say-on-pay).