Warm winter melts profits for state's energy companies

The winter's warm weather decreased deman for both gas and electric service.   File photo

SCANA Corp., an energy-based holding company that provides electric services to approximately 713,000 South Carolina customers and 1.3 million natural gas customers in the area, posted first-quarter earnings that showed the warmer-than-average winter had definite financial effects.

According to the quarterly report issued by SCANA, the weather decreased earnings for both gas and electric service. Earnings at South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. were down to 78 cents per share, compared with 81 cents per share during the same period in 2016. The warm weather, which resulted in less gas usage by customers overall, was too much for the company to overcome, even with the additional help of the Rate Stabilization Act rate increase.

Electric earnings were down as well, even with the 2016 Base Load Review Act’s help to increase electric margins. Electric earnings decreased 24 cents per share during the first quarter of 2017, a decrease of 19 cents per share more than the same period last year.

The number of customers served by the company has risen however, with electric customers increasing 1.6 percent, and the number of gas customers increasing 2.8 percent compared to first-quarter 2016 numbers.

PSNC fared better than other subsidiaries in the report, posting an increase of 5 cents per share during the first quarter, or total earnings of $43 million. Last year the earnings were only $36 million. SCANA attributed the increase in part to higher gas margins and a rate increase, but also noted customer growth as a driving factor.

The full quarterly earnings report along with the earnings outlook can be found at SCANA’s website.

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