(NYSE: XEL) today reported 2015 first quarter GAAP earnings of $152 million, or $0.30 per share, compared with $261 million, or $0.52 per share, in the same period in 2014.
First quarter 2015 ongoing earnings, which exclude an adjustment for a charge related to the Monticello life cycle management/ extended power uprate project, were $0.46 per share compared with $0.52 per share for the first quarter of 2014. The decrease in ongoing earnings was largely attributable to the negative impact of weather. The extreme cold weather experienced in the first quarter of 2014 positively impacted earnings by approximately $0.05 per share. The weather in 2015 was closer to normal, resulting in a net negative variance when comparing periods. Other factors include higher depreciation, operating and maintenance expenses, property taxes and lower allowance for funds used during construction. These amounts were partially offset by earnings from higher electric margins due to new rates and riders in various jurisdictions.
“We had a solid first quarter, with progress on several fronts,” said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Ben Fowke. “We achieved regulatory certainty with rate case decisions in Colorado and Minnesota and resolution in connection with the Monticello nuclear facility prudence review. We increased our dividend 6.7 percent and raised our dividend growth target to 5 percent to 7 percent, reflecting the confidence we have in our business plan and our financial flexibility. Looking ahead, we fully expect to meet our O&M growth target of 2 percent or less and we are reaffirming our 2015 ongoing earnings guidance to $2.00 to $2.15 per share.”
“We also received some welcome recognition recently that illustrates our long-standing commitment to environmental leadership, corporate governance and our nation’s veterans,” Fowke said. “The American Wind Energy Association named us the No. 1 provider of wind energy in the nation for the 11th consecutive year, Forbes Magazine put us on their 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America list and Military Times once again recognized us as a Best for Vets Employer.”