Fueled by Tucson Electric, UniSource boosts income - Tucson Local Media: Business

Fueled by Tucson Electric, UniSource boosts income

Rate hike, cost recovery are factors

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Posted: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 11:00 pm

UniSource Energy Corporation, the parent company of Tucson Electric Power, has reported second quarter 2009 net income of $31 million, or 80 cents per diluted share of common stock.

That's up from $5 million, or 13 cents a share, for the same period a year ago.

TEP, UniSource Energy's principal subsidiary, drove results, a release said. TEP reported net income of $27 million for the second quarter compared, with net income of $6 million last year. TEP had a $12 million increase in retail revenues (excluding renewable energy and demand side management charges), reflecting an average base rate increase of 6 percent that took effect Dec. 1, the company said.

TEP's kilowatt-hour sales actually fell 1.9 percent from the same period a year ago.

The utility also benefited by a purchased power and fuel adjustment clause that allows it to recover actual costs. That new rate structure contributed to a $16 million increase in TEP's gross margin. A year ago, TEP incurred charges of $22 million, including amortization of a regulatory asset and deferred revenues to be refunded.

"With half of the year behind us and TEP's retail energy sales lagging 3.3 percent behind last year's levels, we're revising our expectations and narrowing our 2009 guidance range to $2.55-$2.70 per diluted share," said Paul Bonavia, chairman, president and CEO of UniSource Energy. "Although we're beginning to see signs that economic conditions may be stabilizing, the high end of our previous earnings guidance is likely to remain out of reach."

The growth of TEP's customer base also has proven resilient, Bonavia said. "TEP's customer base continues to expand at a nearly 1 percent annual rate, which is encouraging in today's economy," he said. "With a more constructive regulatory framework in place, we will be well prepared to meet the needs of our customers as the economy improves in the years ahead."

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