Xcel Energy CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Xcel Energy Inc (XEL)

Q22012 Earnings Call

August 2, 2012 10:00 am ET

Executives

Paul Johnson - Vice President, Investor Relations and Financial Management

Teresa Madden - Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Ben Fowke - Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Analysts

Travis Miller - Morningstar Security Research

Kit Konolige - BGC Financial

Ali Agha - SunTrust

Paul Fremont - Jeffries

Dan Eggers - Credit Suisse

Michael Bates - D.A. Davidson

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Xcel Energy second quarter 2012 earnings conference call. During today's presentation, all parties will be in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation, the conference will be opened for questions. (Operator Instructions) This conference is being recorded today, August 2, 2012.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Paul Johnson. Please go ahead, sir.

Paul Johnson

Thank you. Welcome to Xcel Energy's second quarter 2012 earnings release conference call. With me today are Ben Fowke, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer; Teresa Madden, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer; Dave Sparby, Senior Vice President and Revenue Group President; Scott Wilensky, Senior Vice President and General Counsel; George Tyson, Vice President and Treasurer; and Jeff Savage, Vice President and Controller.

Today, we will provide you with an update on recent business developments, discuss second quarter results, and update you on our 2012 guidance. Please note that there are slides that accompany today's call which are available on our webpage. In addition, we will also post a short video at our website with Teresa Madden summarizing our results. We encourage you to check it out. As a reminder, some of our comments may contain forward-looking information. Significant factors that could cause results to differ from those anticipated are described in our earnings release and our filings with the SEC.

I will now turn the call over to, Ben.

Ben Fowke

Thanks, Paul and good morning. Today, we reported second quarter earnings of $0.38 per share compared with $0.33 per share in 2011. New electric rates in Colorado, combined with warmer than normal June weather across our service territory and continued strong expense control, led to our solid second quarter results.

As a result, we remain on track to deliver 2012 earnings in the lower half of our earnings guidance range of $1.75 to $1.85 per share. Teresa will discuss our quarterly results and earnings guidance in greater detail in a few moments.

I will now provide you a few recent developments, starting with an operational update. I am pleased to report that our operating systems performed very well throughout the recent period of hot weather across our service territory. Record temperatures drove new peak demands in several states with only minimal service interruptions.

In addition to the record heat, numerous severe storms occurred in our northern service territory. Excellent response, planning and performance during system outage events minimized customer impacts and our crew has performed their work safely under difficult conditions.

In addition to reliability, our efforts to provide value to our customers are also reflected in two recently proposed transactions. This summer, we agreed to purchase the Brush assets for $75 million. The Brush assets consist of three gas-fired generating units with a total capacity of 237 megawatts. These plants currently provide energy and capacity to PSCo under purchase power agreements that are set to expire in 2017 and 2022.

While smaller, this transaction is very similar to our acquisition of generation assets from Calpine in late 2010 which provided benefits to both customers and investors. The Brush acquisition has many positive attributes including saving our customers' money beginning in the first year. Additionally, owning these peaking plants will give us greater control over our resources. Purchase is subject to various regulatory approvals including the Colorado Commission. We anticipate this transaction will close in early 2013.

We have also asked the commission to consider our request to retire at the end of 2013 Arapahoe unit 4, a 109 megawatt coal-fired power plant. Previously we planned to switch this unit to natural gas. We have proposed replacing the retired unit with a PPA.

One final item, before I turn the call over to Teresa. As you know, in December 2011, NSP-Minnesota filed a request to defer incremental 2012 property taxes or alternatively that a property tax rider be approved. In June, the Minnesota Commission voted to deny our request for deferred accounting for incremental property taxes and also denied our request for property tax rider.

Despite our disappointment in their decision, we believe the regulatory compact in Minnesota remains constructive. We felt our circumstances merited deferred accounting treatment, however the Commission ultimately ruled that this request did not meet the strict requirements for a deferral. As a result, we will continue to expense the full $24 million of incremental property taxes in 2012 resulting in a drag of approximately $0.03 per share on our 2012 earnings.

Now we considered accelerating the filing of our 2013 Minnesota electric rate case so that we could implement interim rates in late 2012 to help offset the impact of increased property taxes, lower sales and added investments in Minnesota, however, based on our continued success, managing O&M expenses and with the help from warmer than normal weather in June and July, we decided to continue our plans which anticipate a Minnesota electric rate case filing in early November.

So with that, I will turn the call over to Teresa.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com

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