Alliant Energy's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Alliant Energy Corporation ( LNT)

Q4 2011 Earnings Conference Call

February 10, 2011 10:00 AM ET

Executives

Susan Gille – Manager, Investor Relations

William Harvey - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Patricia Kampling - President and Chief Operating Officer

Robert Durian - Controller and Chief Accounting Officer

John Kratchmer - Vice President and Treasurer

Analysts

Brian Russo – Ladenburg Thalmann

Jay Dobson – Wunderlich Securities

Ashar Khan - Visium Asset Management

James Krapfel – Morningstar

Presentation

Operator

Thank you for holding, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Alliant Energy’s Year-end 2011 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all lines are in a listen-only mode. Today’s conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the call over to your host, Susan Gille, Manager of Investor Relations at Alliant Energy.

Susan Gille

Good morning. I would like to thank all of you on the call and on the webcast for joining us today. We appreciate your participation. With me here today are Bill Harvey, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pat Kampling, President and Chief Operating Officer, and Robert Durian, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer, as well as other members of the senior management team. Unfortunately, Tom Hanson, our CFO, will not be joining us today due to a back injury.

Following prepared remarks by Bill and Pat, we will have time to take questions from the investment community. We issued a news release this morning announcing Alliant Energy’s year-end 2011 earnings. This release, as well as supplemental slides that will be referenced during today’s call, are available on the investor’s page of our website at www.alliantenergy.com.

Before we begin, I need to remind you the remarks we make on this call and our answers to your questions include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks that could cause actual results to be materially different. Those risks include, among others, matters discussed in Alliant Energy’s press release issued this morning and in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We disclaim any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

In addition, this presentation contains non-GAAP financial measures. The reconciliation between the non-GAAP and GAAP measures are provided in the supplemental slides, which are available on our website at www.alliantenergy.com.

At this point, I’ll turn the call over to Bill.

William Harvey

Thank you Sue, and good morning everyone. 2011 marked a successful year for us. We met our financial objectives and maintained excellent reliability during our hot and stormy summer season and we kept our safety initiatives moving forward. I would like to commend our employees who continue to provide our customers reliable electric and gas service while at the same time delivering value to our share owners. My comments today will detail our priorities for 2012. Later in the call, Pat will discuss various financial and regulatory matters.

As Sue mentioned, our CFO, Tom Hanson would normally present a major portion of our scripted remarks this morning, but Tom has suffered a back injury and is unable to join us this morning. Tom, if you are listening, get well soon.

Robert Durian, our Control and Chief Accounting Officer and John Kratchmer, our Treasurer are here to help us with your questions if need be.

In 2012, we will continue to focus on transforming our generating fleet. Our plans include retrofitting our Tier 1 coal facilities, fuel switching, we are investigating less expensive emission controls for our smaller coal plants and increasing the amount of gas fired generations in our portfolio. Our emission control equipment plants are intended to assure compliance with environmental rules. These expenditures are outlined on Slide 2.

Even though the Cross-State Rule was stayed, the current environmental work underway at IPL’s Ottumwa and WPL’s Edgewater and Columbia facilities support complying the with the Clean Air Interstate Rule which remains effective in the wake of the Cross State Rule stay, the Utility MACT Rule, or the Wisconsin State Mercury Rule. We planned to request regulatory approval for installing the remaining controls for our Tier 1 facilities, so they will be ready to comply with the Cross-State Air Rule or some new version of it. In Iowa, that regulatory discussion will occur through our Emissions Plan and Budget filing, which will be made on April 2.

In Wisconsin, we expect to file the required construction authorization for the Edgewater 5 scrubber and baghouse later this year. The total capital investment of this broad emission control program is approximately $765 million occurring between 2012 and 2015. We are still in the process of assessing whether all the dynamics surrounding federal environmental regulation will change our Tier 2 capital expenditure projections for 2012 through 2015 which are currently estimated to be about $100 million. We have previously stated that we will not be fully retrofitting these units, so we are exploring lower-cost emission alternatives.

As I mentioned earlier, natural gas generation is becoming an increasingly important part of our balanced energy portfolio. WPL’s application to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to purchase Riverside, a 600 megawatt combined cycle facility is proceeding well. This purchase would increase WPL’s gas-fired generating capacity by about 100 megawatts. The Commission has indicated that it intends to review this application without a hearing and we anticipate a decision in April. Our expectation is that closing will occur at the end of 2012. We expect the revenue requirements associated with adding Riverside to rate base will be offset by the elimination of the capacity payments currently being made to Calpine, therefore making the purchase essentially neutral to customers.

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