SCANA Corp. boosted earnings for the third quarter on increased rates and customer growth.
“We continue accelerating customer growth in our businesses and in the region,” said Jimmy Addison, SCANA chief financial officer in a conference call announcing the earnings.
However, increased operating and maintenance expenses and capital expenses such as property taxes and depreciation impacted the gains.
The Cayce-based energy giant reported $131 million in earnings for the period, or a 7.3 percent increase over the third quarter 2012, when the company reported $122 million.
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The earnings were good enough for 94 cents per share return to stockholders for the period, up from 93 cents per share return the third quarter 2012.
Higher electric and gas margins were basically offset in the period by capital expenditure increases in such areas as depreciation, property taxes and share dilution.
For the nine months that ended Sept. 30, SCANA reported earnings totaling $368 million, or $2.67 per share increase, compared to $315 million in earnings in 2012, for $2.41 per share increase.
SCE&G, the company’s principal utility subsidiary reported third quarter earnings of $139 million, or $1 per share, compared to $132 million the third quarter 2012, for basic earnings of $1.01 per share.
As of Sept. 30, the company said it was serving about 675,000 electric customers, up 1.3 percent over 2012, and about 325,000 natural gas customers, up 2.2 percent over last year.
“SCE&G’s electric growth is 1.3 percent, the highest it’s been since the first quarter of 2009. And SCE&G’s gas growth is at 2.2 percent, its highest level since the third quarter of 2007.”
The company said growth in its North Carolina regulated gas businesses grew at 2 percent.
The company’s announcement continues a nearly two-year trend of improved quarterly earnings.
In 2012, SCANA reported a record 25 percent earnings increase, and for the year ended Sept. 30, the company has a 16.8 percent earnings increase.
Steve Byrne, SCE&G chief financial officer, said on the call-in the company’s $9.8 billion capital investment project – building two new nuclear reactors -- at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County is on track to come online in accordance with the 18-month delay it announced in April.
Bryne also said the company continues to see improvements in scheduled work and equipment arrival and installation by prime contractors at the site.
The two new units are scheduled to go online in late 2017 and 2018, the company has said.