Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 07, 2018 • 10:00 am ET


Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good day, everyone, and welcome to the Xcel Energy 2017 Year-End Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]

And now, your host for today's conference, Mr. Paul Johnson, Vice President of Investor Relations. Mr. Johnson, please go ahead, sir.

Paul A. Johnson

Good morning, and welcome to Xcel Energy's 2017 year-end earnings release conference call. Joining me today are Ben Fowke, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer; and Bob Frenzel, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. In addition, we have other members of the management team available to answer your questions.

This morning, we will review our 2017 results, discuss tax reform, and update you on recent business and regulatory developments. Slides that accompany today's call are available on our website. As a reminder, some of the comments during today's conference call may contain forward-looking information. Significant factors that could cause results to differ from those anticipated are described in our earnings release and our filing with the SEC.

In addition, on today's call, we will discuss certain ongoing earnings metrics that are non-GAAP measures. Our ongoing earnings and EPS exclude a $23 million or $0.05 earnings per share one-time charge related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The comparable GAAP measures, a reconciliation to GAAP and an explanation of these charges are included in our earnings release, which is available on our website.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Ben.

Benjamin G. S. Fowke

Well, thank you, Paul, and good morning to everyone. I hope everybody enjoyed the Super Bowl. We certainly enjoyed hosting it in Minneapolis. Glad the lights stayed on. And while our Vikings weren't in the Super Bowl, it was a fun event. And I think at Xcel Energy, we had a Super Bowl year in 2017, performing fantastically, financially, strategically, and operationally. I wanted to start with some of the key accomplishments and recognize the outstanding efforts of our employees in 2017.

We successfully completed CapEx 2020, a 13-year project entailing over 800 miles of transmission lines, $2 billion of investment and working with 11 different utilities. Our nuclear operations have one of its best performance years, achieving a capacity factor of 91% while reducing refuel outage times and lowering cost. Xcel Energy was named the Number One utility wind energy provider in the United States by AWEA for the 12th consecutive year. We were named a Military Times Best for Vets Employer for the fourth consecutive year, ranking 19th on a list of 82 companies that received that honor.

We successfully completed our multi-year SAP implementation, which included a new general ledger and work asset management system. This is part of our productivity through technology initiative, which will drive efficiency and lower our cost structure. And not to diminish our financial results, we had another strong year with ongoing EPS of $2.30 in 2017, which is the midpoint of our guidance. This was our 13th consecutive year of meeting or exceeding our earnings guidance.

Finally, we also raised our dividend by 5.9%, which represents the 14th straight year we increased