CMS Energy Corporation ( CMS)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 27, 2011 9:00 AM ET

Executives

Laura Mountcastle – VP, IR and Treasurer

John Russell – President and CEO

Thomas Webb – EVP and CFO

Analysts

Kevin Cole – Credit Suisse

Greg Gordon – ISI Group

Brian Russo – Ladenburg Thalmann

Paul Ridzon – KeyBanc

Steve Fleishman – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Jonathan Arnold – Deutsche Bank

Paul Patterson – Glenrock Associates

Ali Agha – SunTrust

Carl Seligson – Utility Financial Experts

Ted Heyn – Catapult Partners

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the CMS Energy 2011 Third Quarter Results and Outlook Conference 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 November 3rd. This presentation is also being webcast, 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. Good morning and thank you for joining us today. With me are John Russell, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Tom Webb, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Our earnings press release issued earlier today and the presentation used in this webcast are available on our website. 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 investor section of our website. Reported earnings could vary because of several factors, such as legacy issues associated with prior asset sales. Because of those uncertainties, the company isn’t providing reported earnings guidance.

Now, I’ll turn the call over to John.

John Russell

Thanks, Laura, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today in our third quarter earnings call. I’ll start the presentation with a few brief comments about the quarter before I 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 as we usually do we’ll close with Q&A.

Third quarter 2011 adjusted earnings were $0.53 per share, up $0.01 from last year. The utility performed well during the quarter despite higher storm restoration cost and accelerated reliability spending. The impact of the hot summer – hot summer weather was largely offset by sales decoupling mechanism. Year-to-date results keep us on track to achieve our adjusted earnings per share guidance of $1.44 a share.

Now let me give an update on the regulatory calendar, recent operating milestones, and our plans for environmental compliance. Many of you are familiar with the Michigan Energy Law that was passed with broad bipartisan support in 2008. The specific element of the law listed on this slide provide the foundation for us to invest more than $6.5 billion over the next five years. Our investments will improve the safety and reliability of our system, further improve the environment, and provide value to our customers.

We’re able to make these investments and at the same time keep our customer base rate increases to a level at or below the rate of inflation. For those of you who do not follow us closely, I want to mention that we have a new Commissioner and Chairman of the Public Service Commission. John Quackenbush was appointed September 15th replacing Monica Martinez whose term ended in July. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the staff and the commission, seeking fair and timely recovery of investments as we strive to improve service to our customers and help support the economic recovery in Michigan.

After our third round of rate cases, it’s clear that the 2008 energy law is working smoothly and efficiently as designed. Our rate cases have become streamlined and primarily driven by capital investments on our system and in our plans. At the same time customers are benefiting from cost reduction actions that have resulted in lower O&M charges, a nice situation for both our customers and our company. In addition to the O&M reductions, customers will also see a lower renewable energy surcharge and a refund related to the settlement agreement with the DOE as we discussed last quarter. These two offsets will reduce customer charges by $80 million.

Switching to the operational update, we reached a milestone – another milestone related to the implementation of our smart metering system. In September, we signed a contract with SmartSynch to provide the advanced metering system for our electric customers. The SmartSynch system will utilize existing cellular networks for communications avoiding the cost of building a private mesh network. Meter installation is schedule to begin in August of 2012 and continue through 2019.

We received the final land use permit for our 100 megawatt Lake Winds Energy Park. Construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks for an in service date by the end of next year. After this project is completed we expect to have 8% of our energy supplied by renewable energy sources and on our way to the 10% requirement by 2015.

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