Transmission remains essential to NV Energy’s near-term investments

With earnings of $0.94 per diluted share in 3Q12 compared to $0.73 for the period last year, NV Energy‘s President and CEO Michael Yackira said financial results for the quarter reinforce many of the strategic initiatives the company has been executing over the past several years, including the One Nevada Transmission Line.

“Nevada’s economy is continuing to make gradual improvement, and we have managed our business operations accordingly,” Yackira said in a Nov. 2 earnings call. “With the exception of the [One Nevada] transmission project and the completion of NV Energize, coupled with our load forecasts, we are not currently planning any major investments for the next two years.”

NV Energy submitted a request to the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada for approval of changes in the investment and timeframe for the completion of the One Nevada project, and the company expects a decision on the request by the end of the year.

The 235-mile line would connect the Harry Allen substation north of Las Vegas with the Robinson Summit substation located 20 miles west of Ely, Nev.

Great Basin Transmission South, an affiliate of LS Power, owns 75% of the project, and NV Energy owns 25% of an undivided ownership interest in the project. The $552m One Nevada line is designed to provide transmission access for renewable energy power generators in the region.

“Our strong third quarter results were largely due to higher earnings from the investment in the Harry Allen Generating Station, increased electricity sales, and lower interest expense,” Yackira said. “Our investments in generating capacity over the past five years have enabled us to increase Nevada’s energy independence while maintaining residential customer rates at about the same level as five years ago. Our cost control efforts remain on track. Operating and maintenance expenses for 2012 to date are virtually unchanged from last year.”

An increase in electricity sales in 3Q12 was primarily due to increased customer usage independent of weather effects, and customer growth. Warmer weather increased earnings by approximately $0.01 per share for 3Q12 compared to the same period a year ago. Weather was hotter than normal for both quarterly periods, benefiting earnings by about $0.04 per share for 3Q12, and about $0.03 per share for the same period in 2011, compared to historically normal conditions, the company said.

Results for 2012 to date have exceeded the company’s expectations, and NV Energy said it is revising its earnings guidance to between $1.30 and $1.40 per share for calendar year 2012, up from a July earnings guidance of between $1.15 and $1.25 per share.