NiSource CEO: Company invested more than $820m in gas, electric utility infrastructure through 2Q17

NiSource (NYSE:NI) President and CEO Joe Hamrock on Aug. 2 said that the company remains on track to invest $1.6bn to $1.7bn in its gas and electric utility infrastructure this year, with more than $820m invested through 2Q17.

“These program investments are part of our more than $30bn of identified long-term investment opportunities,” he said during the company’s 2Q17 earnings call.

He noted that NiSource continues to execute on its seven-year electric infrastructure modernization program, which includes enhancements to electric transmission and distribution infrastructure designed to improve system safety and reliability.

“Approximately $1.25bn of investments are planned through 2022,” he said.

Among other things, Hamrock noted that the company’s two major electric transmission projects remain on schedule, with anticipated in-service dates in the second half of 2018.

“The 100-mile, 345-kV and 65-mile, 765-kV projects are designed to enhance region-wide flexibility and reliability,” he said. “Substation, line, and tower construction are well underway for both projects.”

Mike Banas, NiSource director of corporate communications, on Aug. 3 confirmed to TransmissionHub that Hamrock was referring to the 345-kV Reynolds Topeka Electric System Improvement Project (Reynolds-Topeka) and the 765-kV Greentown-Reynolds Electric System Improvement Project (Greentown-Reynolds), which are both in Indiana.

As reported, NiSource’s media relations contact told TransmissionHub on May 3 that the Reynolds-Topeka project is being developed exclusively by NiSource’s Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) subsidiary, while the Greentown-Reynolds project is a partnership between NIPSCO and Pioneer Transmission. The representative noted that Pioneer Transmission is a partnership between American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) and Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK).

According to the website of the Reynolds-Topeka project, the project will strengthen Indiana’s electric system and provide improved access to wind and solar energy sources through the construction of the line, which will connect NIPSCO’s Reynolds substation in Reynolds, Ind., Burr Oak substation in Burr Oak, Ind., and Hiple substation near Topeka, Ind.

According to the website of the Greentown-Reynolds project, the project is one of 17 priority projects required by the Midcontinent ISO (MISO). Studies conducted by MISO determined that improvement projects such as the Greentown-Reynolds project are necessary to maintain the reliability of the transmission grid, while meeting local energy and reliability needs, the site noted. The line will connect Duke’s Greentown substation (East of Kokomo, Ind.), to NIPSCO’s Reynolds substation, according to the site.

Earnings report

NiSource on Aug. 2 announced, on a GAAP basis, a loss from continuing operations for the three months ended June 30, of $44.3m, or 14 cents per share, compared to income from continuing operations of $29m, or 9 cents per share, for the same period of 2016.

The company said that for the six months ended June 30, its income from continuing operations was $167m, or 51 cents per share, compared to $215.6m, or 67 cents per share, for the same period of 2016.

NiSource also reported net operating earnings (non-GAAP) of $33.3m, or 10 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30, compared to $26.6m, or 8 cents per share, for the same period of 2016.

The company said that for the six months ended June 30, its net operating earnings (non-GAAP) were $263.9m, or 81 cents per share, compared to $224.3m, or 70 cents per share, for the same period of 2016.

Reflected in the GAAP results is a $111.5m loss on early extinguishment of higher-coupon long-term debt, NiSource said, adding that this $990.7m refinancing will result in significant interest expense savings over the next several years.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3061 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.