CH Energy Group Inc. (CHG)

Q2 2010 Earnings Conference Call

July 30, 2010 2:00 pm ET

Executives

Steven Lant - Chairman of the Board, President and CEO

Chris Capone - EVP and CFO

Kim Wright - VP of Accounting and Controller

Stacey Renner - Treasurer

Analysts

Maurice May - Power Insights

John Hanson - Praesidis

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the CH Energy Group conference call. For today’s conference all participants are in a listen-only mode. There will be an opportunity for question and instructions will be given at that time. (Operator Instructions) Now that being said I’ll turn the conference now to the Chairman, President and CEO, Mr. Steven Lant. Please go ahead.

Steven Lant

Thank you. Good afternoon and welcome to our quarterly conference call. With me today on today’s call are Chris Capone Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; Kim Wright, Vice President of Accounting and Controller and Stacey Renner, our Treasurer.

Following my introductory remarks Kim Wright will cover our results in detail by business units then Chris Capone will discuss our business environment and future prospects. Following Chris’s remarks, we’ll answer any questions you might have.

Before we begin, I’d like to call on Stacey Renner to review our cautions regarding undue reliance on forward looking statements. Stacey?

Stacey Renner

Thanks Steve. I’d like to first remind listeners that the presentation slides for this conference call and our supplemental second quarter 2010 financial information are available on the Investor Relations section of our website at www.chenergygroup.com. I refer you now to the paragraph on forward-looking statements at the bottom of this morning's press release.

If you're following along with the presentation slides, please reference page three. During this conference call presentation and then the question-and-answer session to follow, CH Energy Group participants may discuss management's intentions, beliefs, expectations, projections or make other statements that are not historical in nature.

Please note, these forward-looking statements are subject to assumptions, risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. These risks are discussed in more detail in our filings on form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 under the section labeled risk factors and as updated in subsequent 10-Q filings. The filings are available in the Investor Relations section of our website at the link for SEC filings.

I'll now return the call to Steve Lant.

Steven Lant

Thank you, Stacey. CH Energy Group’s earnings per share, second quarter were $0.43 versus a loss of $0.09 in the second quarter of 2009, an increase of $0.52. For the first two quarters of 2010, our earnings per share were $1.72 versus a $1.36 for the same period of ’09, an increase of $0.35. The primary driver improved results for the quarter was much improved results for our primary subsidiary, Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation. Central Hudson earned $0.62 in the second quarter of 2010 versus $0.06 in 2009.

You may recall that the second quarter of 2009 was the final quarter of a three-year rate plan in which our revenues were insufficient to cover our cost of service. So our earnings fell to their lowest point in that quarter, since then we have seen a strong trend of recovery. The second quarter of 2010 is the fourth quarter since new rates went into effect and for each of those four quarters received strong improvement from the prior year.

Griffith showed improvement as well. While Griffith typically experienced as a loss in the second quarter as the [heating] season ends, the loss was $0.10 rather than the $0.14 per share we experienced in 2009. This is primarily due to the smaller scale of the business following our partial divestiture in December 2009. Our renewable energy projects and other businesses did not do as well in 2010, $0.09 versus $0.01 in 2009.

Our major turbine overhaul at our Lyonsdale biomass plant and the exploration of production tax credits at our Lyonsdale plant and lower cost margins at our Cornhusker ethanol plant with a primary causes of our lower earnings. There have been some significant developments since our last quarterly conference call. Most importantly, in June, The New York Public Service Commission approved a joint proposal which sets rates for the three-years July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2013.

The joint proposal provides modest phased in rate increases each year for both electric and gas service and we'll provide approximately $86 million in incremental revenue to cover increasing costs over the next three years. We are pleased that the PSE approved the joint proposal. We believe that represents a fair balance of interest and provide certainty for both the company and our customers. The joint proposal include significant productivity and cost management challenges to the company, they’re further only allowed rate of return on equity of 10% but we are hard at work and hope to accomplish that objective.

The joint proposal approved significant capital expenditures necessary to serve our customers and will result in rate case growth of approximately 5% per year. Partly due to the approval of the joint proposal, the rating agencies have recently approved our strong boundaries. Moody's has affirmed our rating at 83 and changed our outlook from negative to stable. Standard & Poors has affirmed our solid A ratings.

In our press release, we know that we are reviewing our strategy with respect to allocation of capital to renewable energy projects and has suspended making new investments. We expect to complete that review by early October and share the outcome with you after it's completed. Until then, we're unable to go into any further detail about what the outcome might be.

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