CenterPoint Posts Profits for First Quarter

CenterPoint Posts Profits for First Quarter

May 9, 2017

by Margarita Fournier; Copyright 2016 by Competitive Assets, LLC.  All rights reserved

On 5/6/17, SeekingAlpha posted a transcript of CenterPoint’s earnings call, during which CEO Scott Prochazka reported that, despite a warm winter in the Houston Electric area, “Electric Transmission and Distribution core operating income in the first quarter of 2017 was $58 million, compared to $59 million in the same quarter last year. We continue to see strong growth in our electric service territory. We added more than 49,000 metered customers since the first quarter of 2016, representing 2% customer growth. We continue to forecast 2% growth for all of 2017, which equates to approximately $25 million to $30 million in incremental base revenue.

In February, we received approval for our transmission cost of service or TCOS filing, which provides a $7.8 million annual increase in revenue. Additionally, in April, Houston Electric made a Distribution Cost Recovery Factor or DCRF filing with the Public Utility Commission of Texas, which proposes a $44.6 million annual increase in revenue. New rates are expected to go into effect in September…. Also in April, we submitted a proposal to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, also known as ERCOT, requesting its endorsement of a transmission project to support continued load growth for the petrochemical industry in the Freeport, Texas area. The proposed project includes capital expenditures of approximately $250 million, which would be incremental to the five-year capital plan that we provided on our earnings call this past February. We anticipate a decision from ERCOT later this year. If approved, we will then make the necessary filings to seek approval from the PUCT. We anticipate the majority of capital expenditures will occur in 2019, 2020 and 2021.”

Also, on 5/5/17, FuelFix reported that “CenterPoint Energy, Texas’ monopoly gas and electric distributor, said on Friday that its profits rose in the first quarter, even as the company has asked for gas utility and electricity rate hikes to cover expenses. CenterPoint reported a profit of $192 million, or 44 cents per share, over the first quarter of 2017, as compared to a profit of $154 million, or 36 cents per share, over the same period last year. In April, CenterPoint proposed an electricity rate increase, which would help the company recoup $480 million it spent on transmission in 2016. That increase would add at least 80 cents for 1,000 kilowatt-hours used a month for all CenterPoint customers. CenterPoint also requested a rate hike to cover $16.5 million spent on its natural gas distribution business. The bill of an average customer using 3,400 cubic feet of gas a month in Houston would rise by $1.23 a month by mid-2017.”

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