Duke Profits Rise On Higher Rates, Energy Use During Hot Spells
Duke Energy's second-quarter profit rose 64% from a year ago, as higher rates and other fees boosted revenues and hot weather drove energy use.
Profits rose across Duke's main businesses - consumer electric, gas and commercial energy. CEO Lynn Good told analysts the company is on track to meet its profit goal for the year, and its long range target of annual profit growth of 4% to 6% over the next few years.
"With solid growth across all three operating segments, we are executing our long term strategy to transform the customer experience, and deliver value for our shareholders," Good said in a conference call Tuesday morning.
Duke says its earnings per share for this year remain on track to fall in a range from $4.80 to $5.20.
Duke reported a profit of $820 million in the quarter that ended June 30, up from $500 million the year before. Earnings per share of $1.12 beat the average estimate of 98 cents among Wall Street analysts. Duke's per share profit a year ago was 71 cents.
Revenues rose 4%, to nearly $5.9 billion, up from $5.6 billion a year earlier.
Good also gave an update on legal and regulatory delays, including a Supreme Court appeal, that have hampered the planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The proposed 600-mile project would carry fracked gas from West Virginia to North Carolina.
Key federal environmental permits have been held up by rulings from the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. One of those needed permits would allow the pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail. Duke and its partners, Dominion Energy of Virginia and The Southern Co. of Atlanta, have appealed to the Supreme Court. They're waiting to hear this fall if the court accepts the appeal.
Good says they expect to win that and other appeals and eventually to begin service.
"We continue to target in service for the first phase of the project by late 2020, and full pipeline in service in 2021," Good said.
Dominion and Duke have said it could cost up to $7.8 billion to build the pipeline.
Good also said Duke is appealing a North Carolina order that it must remove coal ash at all its sites in the state. She said the requirement would add $4 billion to $5 billion to coal ash cleanup costs in North Carolina.
See Duke's full quarterly earnigns release and other information at Duke-Energy.com
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