Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Feb 05, 2015 • 10:00 am ET
Leo P. Denault
even during the coldest days of the polar vortex, we're able to provide customers with safe, reliable power. And we made significant investments at our Fitzpatrick plant to strengthen reliability even further. At Indian point, we received an important favorable ruling on CZMA from the New York State appellate court, and we continue to engage New York State agencies when appropriate and possible.
And particularly in the first quarter, during periods of market volatility our risk management and hedging activities delivered substantial value for our owners. EWC's strong first quarter, coupled with that of the utility resulted in operational EPS growth of nearly 9% for the year, well above the original guidance we provided in the fall of 2013. All of these things led to Entergy capturing a top quartile position on total shareholder return in 2014. We believe this performance illustrates our commitment to what has been our mission for some time, creating sustainable value for our owners, customers, employees and the communities that we serve.
As we look to 2015 and beyond, we can say with confidence that the fundamentals driving our business are intact. Of course, we know that our company faces some challenges in the coming year. And these challenges, including the drop in power prices, underlay our announcement this morning on 2015 guidance. But Entergy remains on track to deliver on its objectives. Our strategy remains sound and you will continue to see us execute on it this year and in the years to come.
Let me start our discussion about the Utility by saying we continue to believe that, today, Entergy has some of the best growth fundamentals in the business. We continue to see a need make productive investments to meet increasing reliability requirements and to modernize our fleet. We enjoy and are working hard to strengthen recovery mechanisms that give us the financial flexibility to make these investments. Again, we expect to do so while maintaining our rate advantage, both through actions we've taken and, despite the drop in oil prices, through the continued expansion of our industrial customer base.
2014 provided ample evidence to support this point of view. Let's start with productive investments and the recent actions we have taken. On December 9th, we signed an agreement to acquire Union Power Station near El Dorado, Arkansas. While the agreement is subject to regulatory approval from three of our operating companies, buying this natural, gas-fired, nearly 2,000-megawatt facility helps us modernize our fleet and positions our operating companies to meet growing demand, including from industrial customers.
In Arkansas and Louisiana, similar to prior acquisitions, these filings also include proposals for timely rate approvals. In Texas, we filed for CCN, Certificate of Convenience and Necessity, and plan to file a rate case in the second quarter to incorporate the Union Plant and rates upon closing. In Louisiana, for the first time in nearly 30 years, the Utility added a self-build power plant in its fleet. We're happy to say that Ninemile 6