Xcel Energy, Inc. (XEL)

Deutsche Bank Clean Tech, Utilities and Power Conference

May 14, 2012 2:55 p.m. ET


Dave Sparby - Sr. Vice President and Group President


Jonathon Arnold - Deutsche Bank


Jonathon Arnold - Deutsche Bank

We are going to get started again with our final utility of day one which is Xcel Energy. We are delighted to have Dave Sparby here with us today. Dave, many of you know was CFO for a while and is now basically President and sitting on top of all of the utilities which gives him a unique perspective of what's going on. And if my historical facts are correct, Xcel is still the largest buyer of wind power in the country and therefore it’s great to have you at our Clean Tech Conference.

Dave Sparby

Thanks, Jonathon, it’s good to be here. Well, today's remarks will include some forward-looking statements subject to both some risks and uncertainties.

Now this afternoon I will touch on some of the key characteristics that make Xcel and attractive investment. They include our diversified business portfolio, our strong environmental record, constructive regulation, and positioning to deliver 10% total return to our shareholders.

Now a quick look at our company for those who are not familiar with it. In includes 3.4 million electric customers, 1.9 million gas customer throughout eight states. And being in eight states helps us diversify the risk of weather, regulatory decisions or regional economies. The largest operations of course are in Minnesota and Colorado.

Xcel also has a strong governance that it brings to its operations. It has an independent Lead Director, annual election of directors and independent outside directors. Our executive comp is very much aligned with our shareholder interest.

As most of you are aware and Jonathon hinted, we are an environmental leader. We have 4,000 megawatts on wind on our system. Wind of course reduces our air emissions and diversifies our generation mix. And the progress we have made from 2005 to 2011 and where we intend to be in 2020.

Now adding renewables, of course when combined with other strategies like repowering some of our older plants has dramatically reduced our environmental risk at Xcel. Our efforts have allowed us to meet local, state and federal policy initiatives. And looking ahead, our Clean Air Clean Jobs project in Colorado will take that progress to a whole new level over the next few years.

And in addition to a strong environmental record we have also been able to deliver operational excellence in terms of increasing reliability and better service. These beneficial trends were actually earned last year during a time when we had tornados in Minneapolis, ice storms in Denver and wild fires in Texas. So it’s been a great year operationally for as well.

Now in addition to keeping the lights on, we have also been able to keep the rates very competitive. This has been done largely by bringing on our capital projects on time and on budget. Now this chart reflects that our rates in our major cities are competitive with rates around the U.S. for cities of a comparable size.

Now, one of the ways we have been able to create value for our customers is to offer a customer choice. Now we have been able to develop some of the most cost efficient DSM and conversation programs at Xcel. In fact we have saved our customers over 3200 megawatts of power since the inception of these programs. Last year we earned $71 million as an incentive for our performance. We have also been able to offer green energy programs like Windsource and Solar*Rewards. Our Windsource of course is one of the most heavily subscribed green energy programs.

And of course competitive rates, environmental operations -- environmentally sound operations, have resulted in good strong customer satisfaction for us at Xcel. Since 2007, customer satisfaction has improved steadily through 2011, and in fact we have seen almost a 48% reduction in customer complaints over that same period of time. And this is over a several year period where we have asked for several rate changes. So the positive impacts become very noticeable to us as well as our regulators.

Now looking ahead, we have a continued opportunity for significant capital investment in our system as we move ahead with our plans to invest more than $13 billion across the service territory. With respect to the generation share of the wedge, a good portion of that is our Clean Air, Clean Jobs program in Colorado where we are changing out some of our older coal and substituting new gas fired generation across the Denver Metro area. And the transmission component of that wedge s largely the CapEx program in Minnesota where we have very good returns for that investment.

Now this slide shows that spend by year and by function with transmission being the largest segment of that in 2013. Where, again, we will have a forward-looking rider to recover much of that transmission cost. And, of course, cost recovery is critical to success with a large capital budget. Now, we have worked very efficiently I think over the last few years to create favorable -- the fact this month we were able to reach a comprehensive settlement with the Colorado Commission adopting a multiyear plan in that state.

Now the multiyear plan provides both revenue and regulatory certainty for us there. And it also serves to reduce our regulator lag over a very important three-year construction cycle in that state. Although Colorado is behind us, our capital program because it stretches across eight states will require several rate changes we have this year. You can see we are off to a good start. We still have a couple of rate issues yet to resolve in South Dakota and Minnesota however. And while we have been off to an encouraging start in 2012, we do anticipate several rate changes to be effective in 2013.

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