Warmer summer, cooler winter boost Wisconsin utility revenues in 2018

February 27, 2019

Wisconsin utilities reaped bigger benefits in 2018 thanks in part to a warmer-than-normal summer and colder winter.

Alliant Energy reported profits of $124.4 million on revenues of $3.5 billion in 2018, translating into earnings per share of $2.17.

The Madison-based company, which serves about 960,000 customers in Wisconsin and Iowa, said temperatures increased earnings by about $35 million over the previous year.

About $25.4 million of that will be set aside and applied to Alliant’s next rate case in 2021 under profit-sharing terms in the company’s current rate case.

Much of the growth in earnings was attributed to warmer summer and colder winter temperatures as measured in heating-degree and cooling-degree days, the difference between the average daily temperature and 65 degrees.

According to data from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, statewide there were 2 percent more heating-degree days than average in 2018 and 26 percent more cooling-degree days, while 2017 was below average in both.

Adjusting to account for temperature variability, the $2.11 earnings per share were up 6 percent from the previous year.

Madison Gas & Electric reported profits of $114.2 million on sales of $559.8 million, or $2.43 per share. The company attributed the drop in earnings to one-time benefits from the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that were counted in 2017.

MGE said earnings were boosted by the addition of customers and favorable weather, though the company did not break down the weather’s impact.

Xcel Energy reported a 5.7 percent increase in residential electric sales for its Wisconsin subsidiary. Factoring in weather, growth was only about 0.2 percent.

The WEC Energy Group, the parent company of We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service Corp., said weather helped drive energy sales “significantly above forecast.”

WEC reported earnings of $1.06 billion, or $3.34 per share. The company will return $64.6 million to customers of its Wisconsin utilities through future rate cases.

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