Chesterton Tribune

NiSource posts 1Q income of $205.2M

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By KEVIN NEVERS

NiSource Inc. is reporting a net income in the first quarter of 2011 of $205.2 million or 73 cents basic earnings per share, compared to $197.3 million or 71 cents in the year-ago period.

“NiSource’s robust agenda of significant infrastructure investments paired with complementary commercial and regulatory activity continues to generate tangible benefits for our customers, increased value for our shareholders, and positions us for sustainable long-term earnings growth,” NiSource President and CEO Robert Skaggs Jr. said in a statement released today. “Our first quarter performance is squarely in line with our expectations as well as our full-year 2011 earnings outlook, and sets the stage for ongoing execution of our balanced business strategy.”

Regulatory Update

NiSource’s subsidiary, the Northern Indiana Public Service Company, “remains on track to establish new electric base rates by late 2011 or early 2012,” the company said. Currently on the table before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC): a 7.9-percent hike which would increase the average household’s monthly bill by around $5.94. That electric rate-case is intended to supersede an original one for which, in August 2010, the IURC actually issued an order resulting in a 16.8-percent hike. Early this year NIPSCO asked the IURC to quash that order and expedite the new case.

NIPSCO is amenable, however, to a settlement of some sort, NiSource said, and “is actively engaged in settlement discussions with all of its stakeholders and remains committed to seeking a collaborative, mutually agreeable resolution.”

Meanwhile, NiSource said, NIPSCO launched “two significant customer programs” in the first quarter of 2011: the first, targeted at commercial and industrial customers, “offers financial incentives for the completion of cost-effective energy projects involving the installation of new high-efficiency equipment or systems”; the second program provides high-energy residential users information about becoming more energy efficient.

Operating Income 1Q

•Gas distribution: $237.1 million ($234.7 million year-ago). NiSource attributed the decrease to lower residential, commercial, and industrial margins due to NIPSCO’s change from a volumetric-based rate design to one with a higher fixed charge.

•Gas transmission and storage: $118.5 million ($125.9 million year-ago). NiSource attributed the decrease to the recognition of a gain in first-quarter 2010 on the previously deferred transfer of natural gas provided by Columbia Gas Transmission to Hardy Storage Company.

•Electric: $41.9 million ($46.3 million year-ago). NiSource attributed the decrease to higher operating, employee, and administration expenses.

•Corporate and other: an operating loss of $2.6 million (an operating loss of $1.7 million year-ago).

•Total operating income: $394.9 million ($405.2 million year-ago).

 

Posted 5/3/2011