Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Jan 29, 2015 • 10:00 am ET


Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good day everyone. Welcome to the Xcel Energy Fourth Quarter 2014 Earnings Call. Today's call is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Paul Johnson, VP of IR. Please go ahead.

Paul A. Johnson

Good morning, and welcome to Xcel Energy's 2014 Fourth Quarter Earnings Release Conference Call. Joining me today are Ben Fowke, Chairman, President and CEO; and Teresa Madden, EVP and CFO. In addition we have other members of the management team in the room to answer questions if necessary.

This morning, we will review our 2014 full year results, reaffirm our 2015 earnings guidance range and update you on strategic plans related to business and regulatory developments. Slides that accompany today's call are available on our Web page.

In addition, we will post a brief video on our website of Teresa summarizing our financial results later this morning.

(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements) I'll now turn the call over to Ben.

Ben Fowke

Thank you, Paul, and good morning. I'm going start by highlighting some of the key successes of 2014 and update you on some exciting developments at Xcel Energy. Teresa will provide more detail on some of these items. 2014 was another strong year for Xcel Energy as the Company reported earnings of $2.03 per share.

This marks the tenth consecutive year we've met or exceeded our earnings guidance and the fifth consecutive year we've delivered earnings in the upper half of our guidance range. In addition, we raised our dividend for the eleventh year in a row.

From a regulatory perspective, we made significant progress, wrapping up rate cases in Wisconsin, New Mexico and Texas. We received a constructive ALJ recommendation in Minnesota and most recently reached a favorable three year settlement in our Colorado electric case. When we filed the case in Colorado, we stated that our objective was to establish a multi-year regulatory plan that provides certainty for PSCo and its customers.

This settlement accomplishes that goal and provides us a reasonable opportunity to earn our authorized return in our Colorado electric business over the next three years. From an operational perspective, I also wanted to take a moment to say how incredibly proud I am of the efforts of our employees this year.

We hit record levels of safety in 2014 improving for the seventh straight year. And again we demonstrated our top tier operating performance with industry leading reliability scores.

Recall last quarter we unveiled our refreshed strategic plan that was focused on improving utility performance, including the goal of closing the ROE gap by 50 basis points and increasing the amount of revenue generated from long term regulatory agreement. Driving operational excellence by focusing on limiting annual increases in O&M cost to between 0% and 2%, providing our customers more option and solutions and finally investing for the future by focusing on incremental growth opportunities in our natural gas and transmission businesses.

Today, we're excited to update you on the progress we've made on some of these initiatives. The