Welcome to the Eversource Energy First Quarter 2018 Results Conference Call. My name is Vanessa, and I will be your operator for today's call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer session.
Please note that this conference is being recorded.
I will now turn the call over to Mr. Jeffrey Kotkin. You may begin, sir.
Jeffrey R. Kotkin
Thank you, Vanessa. Good morning and thank you for joining us. I'm Jeff Kotkin, Eversource Energy's Vice President for Investor Relations. During this call, we'll be referencing slides that we posted last night on our Web site.
As you can see on Slide 1, some of the statements made during this investor call may be forward-looking as defined within the meaning of the Safe Harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities and Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties which may cause the actual results to differ materially from forecasts and projections. Some of these factors are set forth in the news release issued yesterday.
Additional information about the various factors that may cause actual results to differ can be found in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017. Additionally, our explanation of how and why we use certain non-GAAP measures is contained within our news release and the slides we posted last night, and in our most recent 10-K.
Turning to Slide 2, speaking today will be Phil Lembo, our Executive Vice President and CFO; and Lee Olivier, our Executive Vice President for Enterprise Energy Strategy and Business Development. Also joining us today are Jay Buth, our Controller; Christine Vaughan, our Treasurer; and John Moreira, our VP for Financial Planning and Analysis.
Now, I will turn to Slide 3 and turn over the call to Phil.
Philip J. Lembo
Thank you, Jeff, and welcome, everybody. Today, I'll cover several items; our first quarter 2018 financial results, an update on some key regulatory dockets, recent financing activity and our activities related to Connecticut Water.
We had a strong start to 2018 with earnings right in line with expectations. We achieved some important regulatory outcomes and continued to provide very high levels of service reliability to our customers. As we noted in the earnings news release, we continue to forecast 2018 earnings between $3.20 and $3.30 per share and long-term earnings growth of 5% to 7%.
I'll start with our first quarter 2018 results on Slide 3. Earnings were $0.85 per share in the quarter compared to $0.82 in 2017. The primary driver for the increase was improved transmission segment earnings, where we earned $0.34 per share compared to $0.30 per share in '17. The increase was due to continued investment in our transmission system to maintain performance and improve reliability for customers.
The electric distribution earnings totaled $0.33 compared to $0.36 last year. The decrease was primarily due to lower generation earnings resulting from the sale