Northwest Natural Gas Company (NYSE:NWN) Q1 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

May 05, 2015 • 11:00 am ET


Northwest Natural Gas Company (NYSE:NWN) Q1 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good morning, and welcome to the Northwest Natural Gas First Quarter Results Earnings Conference Call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) After today's presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. (Operator Instructions) Please note this event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Nikki Sparley. Please go ahead.

Nikki Sparley

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to our first quarter 2015 earnings call. This is Nikki Sparley and I'm temporarily filling in Bob Hess who is unable to be with us today.

(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements)

As mentioned, this teleconference is being recorded and will be available on our website following the call. Please note that these conference calls are designed for the financial community. If you are an individual investor and have questions, please contact me directly at 503-226-4211 extension 58 or 57. Media may contact, Melissa Moore at 503-220-2436.

Speaking this morning are Gregg Kantor, President and CEO and Steve Feltz, SVP and CFO. Gregg and Steve have some opening remarks and then will be available to answer your questions. Also joining us today are other members of our executive team, who are available to help answer any questions that you may have. We look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming AGA financial forum this month. If you have any questions about the event, please contact me.

With that, let me turn it over to Gregg for his opening remarks.

Gregg Kantor

Good morning, everyone and welcome to our first quarter earnings call. I'm going to begin today with highlights from the quarter and then turn it over to Steve to cover the financial details for the period, and then I'll wrap up with brief comments about our priorities for the remainder of the year. As you know, over the past few years, we've been working through several complex regulatory proceedings that came out of our 2012 Oregon rate case. In the first quarter, we received the Oregon Commission's decision on our environmental cost recovery docket which lays out how an earnings test will be applied to environmental expenditures we incurred and will continue to incur in the future.

In this order, the Commission found that all but $33,000 of the $114 million of environmental expenses incurred through March of 2014 recruitment. The order also found that the insurance settlements resulting in the collection of about a $150 million were entered into prudently. However, the OPUC disallowed recovery of environmental expenses totaling $15 million incurred through 2012 due to the application of an earnings test and other considerations. As a result, we took a one-time after tax charge in the quarter of $9.1 million.

While the write-down was disappointing, we view our ability to fully recover future environmental cleanup costs as the key issue in a very complicated docket. We were also glad to have the environmental spend and insurance settlements being prudent. Steve will cover the mechanics of the order in a moment, but overall, we view this outcome as