Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 05, 2015 • 10:00 am ET


Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Entergy Corporation Fourth Quarter 2014 Earnings Release and Teleconference.

At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will follow at that time.

[Operator Instructions]

As a reminder, today's call is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Paula Waters. Ma'am, you may begin.

Paula Waters

Thank you. Good morning and thank you, everyone, for joining us. We'll begin today with comments from our Chairman and CEO, Leo Denault; and then Drew Marsh, our CFO, will review results.

[Operator Instructions]

In today's call, management will make certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainty that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Additional information concerning these risks and uncertainties is included in the company's SEC filings.

Now, I'll turn the call over to Leo.

Leo P. Denault

Thank you, Paula. And good morning, everyone. Last year, we told you that Entergy was in a unique position, and that's still true today. We said we had a significant opportunity to invest in and modernize our fleet, strengthen reliability and meet evolving regular expectations and requirements. We said by making these investments, we could both grow our rate base and our keep customer rates low, a strategy supported in part by the industrial renaissance here in the Gulf South. We said we would manage risk and preserve optionality at Entergy wholesale commodities by improving fleet operations and pursuing stability. We said we'd manage commodity risk and leverage in the inherent volatility of power prices to our benefit and that of our owners. I'm pleased to say we did all of these things in 2014.

At the Utility, we announced the proposed purchase of the Union Power Station, which would serve four of our operating companies. In Louisiana, Ninemile 6 came online months early and about $70 million underbudget. We resolved two important rate cases in Mississippi and Texas and in Arkansas, while we are not where we need to be, we were granted limited relief in our request for a rate case rehearing.

We completed our first full year of operation in MISO. And it's becoming clear that our projections that customers would realize savings were correct, validating our regulator's decision to approve that move. Although the numbers are still estimates, it now appears that customers across the Utility will, in fact, realize more MISO-driven savings than we had originally expected.

We did all these while keeping our rates low, about 20% below the national average across all of our customer classes. For the year, we beat our original 1.9% retail sales growth projections by 0.4% coming in at 2.3%. Industrial sales led the way with 5% growth, beating our estimates of 2.8% by a wide margin. At EWC, we improved operations at our plants, which,