CMS Energy Corporation (CMS)

Q2 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

July 28, 2010 9:00 am ET


Laura Mountcastle – VP and Treasurer

John Russell – President and CEO

Tom Webb – EVP and CFO


Kevin McVeigh [ph] – Credit Suisse

Brian Russo – Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc.

Jonathan Arnold – Deutsche Bank

Ted Heyn – Catapult Capital

Ali Agha – SunTrust Robinson Humphrey

Paul Ridzon – KeyBanc Capital Markets



Good morning everyone, and welcome to the CMS Energy 2010 second quarter results and outlook call. This call is being recorded. Just a reminder, there will be a rebroadcast of this conference call today beginning at noon Eastern Time running through August 4. This presentation is also being web cast and is available on CMS Energy’s website in the investor relations section. At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Ms. Laura Mountcastle, Vice President and Treasurer. Please go ahead.

Laura Mountcastle

Thank you Jeff. Good morning and thank you for joining us today. With me are John Russell, President and CEO; and Tom Webb, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Our earnings press release issued earlier today and the presentation used in this web cast are available on our website at

This presentation contains forward looking statements. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties and should be read in conjunction with our Form 10-Ks and 10-Qs. The forward looking statements and information and risk factors section discuss important factors that could cause results to differ materially from those anticipated in such statements.

This presentation also includes non-GAAP measures. A reconciliation of each of these measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure is included in the appendix and posted in the investors section of our website. We expect 2010 reported earnings to be about the same as adjusted earnings. Reported earnings could vary because of several factors. We are not providing reported earnings guidance reconciliation because of the uncertainties associated with those factors. Now, I’ll turn the call over to John.

John Russell

Thanks Laura. Good morning everyone. Thanks for joining us today on our second quarter earnings call. I’ll start the presentation with a few brief remarks, and then turn the call over to Tom for a more detailed discussion on the financial results and the outlook for the remainder of the year. Then we’ll close with Q&A.

Second quarter 2010 adjusted earnings were $0.26, down $0.02 from last year. The decrease was due primarily to the absence of a gain from financing activities in 2009 and the effect of unseasonably warm weather on our gas utility, partly offset by electric and gas rate relief. Adjusting for weather at our gas utility, we would report $0.31 in the second quarter. As a reminder, this sales decoupling mechanism offset the effect of unseasonably warm or cold weather on our electric business. But weather is not included in our gas decoupling mechanism.

For the full year, we expect adjusted earnings at $1.35 a share, unchanged from previous guide. Tom will discuss the second quarter variances and full-year guidance in more detail in a few minutes. The foundation of our long-term strategy is safe and excellent operation that provides value to our customers.

I will review the results of the recent customer satisfaction survey and other operational improvements shortly. We have taken another step forward towards achieving our 10% renewable energy target, and I will discuss those in a few minutes, and finally I will give you an update on the status of recent regulatory actions. First, let me update you on our operating performance.

One of our primary objectives is to continue improving the safety and reliability of our system, which we believe creates customer satisfaction and value. We had seen the benefits of our efforts in a couple of recent independent surveys. We moved up 13 places from the fourth quartile to the second quartile in the 2010 University of Michigan American Customer Satisfaction Index, which surveys residential customers of combination utility companies.

And in the annual JD Power survey of electric customer satisfaction, our customers rated us higher this year in five of the six categories, but we still have more work to do to achieve first quartile performance. I’m pleased with our improvement in the area of employee safety from 2007 through the end of 2009; we improved our overall safety performance by more than 50% as measured by reduction in employee incidents.

Based on year-to-date results, we are forecasting another 20% improvement for the current year. Another area of improvement is cost management. A recent benchmarking study by Oliver Wyman ranked consumers in the first quartile of overall cost management, which reaffirms our ongoing commitment to keep our customer rates as competitive as possible.

In May of this year, our union employees ratified a new five year agreement that provides for increased health care cost sharing, and changed post retirement health benefits under the OPEB [ph] plan for retired employees. This decreased our OPEB liability by $95 million and will result in a decrease in benefit costs of $14 million in 2010.

As discussed on the next slide, our renewable energy development plan is on target. To meet Michigan’s 10% renewable energy requirement, we expect to add 500 MW of owned or contracted renewable capacity by 2015. The blue dots on the map represent the locations of existing renewable sources that account for approximately 4% of our sales.

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