Piedmont Natural Gas seasonal loss $7.3 millionStaff writer ▼ | September 8, 2014
Piedmont Natural Gas announced results for its third quarter ended July 31, 2014. The company reported a seasonal loss of $7.3 million, or $.09 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $2.3 million, or $.03 per diluted share for the same period in 2013.
Results for the third quarter $.09 per diluted share is loss at Piedmont
Margin for the quarter was $104.8 million, an increase of $7.8 million from the prior year’s quarter. Margin for the nine months ended July 31, 2014 was $577.9 million, an increase of $65.4 million from the prior year period.
The increase in margin is primarily attributable to customer growth, regulatory rate adjustments and increased transportation services in the power generation markets, and in the nine-month period, supplemented by higher margin sales from secondary market activity related to colder-than-normal weather and increased wholesale market volatility and increased volume deliveries in the retail markets due to colder weather.
Operations and maintenance expenses totaled $68.6 million during the third quarter of 2014, an increase of $5.7 million from the third quarter of 2013. Operations and maintenance expenses totaled $199.4 million during the nine months ended July 31, 2014, an increase of $15.6 million from the same period in 2013.
The increase in O&M expenses for both periods is due to increases in payroll primarily from additional employees and incentive accruals, contract labor, approved amortization of regulatory assets and a higher level of bad debt from colder weather and higher customer consumption this past winter.
Pre-tax income from Piedmont’s energy-related joint ventures increased 38% for the quarter and 26% percent for the year-to-date compared to the same period in 2013 primarily due to improved performance at SouthStar Energy from the expansion into the unregulated retail markets in Illinois, partially offset by higher operating and general and administrative expenses.
Utility interest charges for the quarter were $13.1 million compared to $5.7 million for the same period in 2013. Utility interest charges for the nine months ended July 31, 2014 were $35.8 million compared to $13.5 million for the same period in 2013.
The increase is primarily due to an increase in interest expense on long-term debt primarily due to higher amounts outstanding this year, a decrease in AFUDC as a result of lower utility project construction expenditures compared to the prior year and an increase in interest expense on amounts due to customers.
At its regular quarterly meeting of the company’s board of directors, the Board of Directors today announced the declaration of a quarterly dividend on Common Stock of 32 cents per share, payable on October 15, 2014 to holders of record at the close of business on September 24, 2014. ■