Progress Energy earnings fall 19 percent for the quarter

Progress Energy's third-quarter earnings dropped 19 percent, the result of mild weather and the inability to charge Carolina customers some nuclear fees.

On Thursday, the utility announced third-quarter earnings of $291 million, or 98 cents per share, compared with $361 million, or $1.23 per share, during the same period last year. Revenue fell to $2.75 billion from $2.96 billion a year ago. Analysts expected $3.18 billion.

"We are continuing to focus on the fundamentals of safely delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally sound power to our customers," said Bill Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Progress Energy, which includes Progress Energy Florida. "Meanwhile, we are working diligently to complete our merger with Duke Energy to drive increased value for our customers and shareholders, while achieving our earnings objectives for this year."

North Carolina-based Progress, which has 1.6 million customers in Florida, and Duke have been aiming to complete a merger by the end of the year.

Duke Energy, also based in North Carolina, suffered a 30 percent drop in net income during the third quarter. The utility reported net income of $472 million, or 35 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with $670 million, or 51 cents per share, for the same period in 2010.

Duke attributed the decline in its profits to reduced energy consumption and an unexpected increase in costs for a new plant in Indiana.

"The fourth quarter will require that we maintain our focus to complete our proposed merger with Progress Energy, work to resolve our rate cases in the Carolinas, and remain on track to complete major generation facilities at Cliffside in North Carolina and Edwardsport in Indiana by their 2012 deadlines," said James E. Rogers, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

To complete the merger, the utilities still have to clear some federal regulatory hurdles. But if the deal is finalized, the new company, which would carry the name Duke Energy, will be the largest utility in the country based on customers with a total of 7 million.

Ivan Penn can be reached at ipenn@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2332. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Consumers_Edge and find the Consumer's Edge on Facebook.

Progress Energy earnings fall 19 percent for the quarter 11/03/11 [Last modified: Thursday, November 3, 2011 10:57pm]

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