PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 14, 2020 • 10:00 am ET


PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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William H. Spence

achieved top decile generation reliability in Kentucky.

At the same time, we remain as focused as ever on providing superior customer service. In fact, our utilities remain among the very best for customer satisfaction in the regions we serve. Our US utilities earned four JD Power awards for customer satisfaction, raising their combined total to 51 since JD Power began assessing utility customer satisfaction in 1999. Meanwhile, our UK utilities all achieved a 9 out of 10 in Ofgem's broad measure of customer satisfaction review.

In addition, Western Power Distribution earned the UK's Customer Service Excellence Award for the 27th consecutive year. The company was also ranked by the industry regulator as best in stakeholder engagement and support for vulnerable customers for the eighth straight year. These achievements and more reflect our shared values and common purpose across PPL to deliver without fail for our customers, to exceed their expectations and to continuously improve.

Aware of the tremendous opportunity we have to make a positive impact on society, not only today but for years to come, PPL also invested more than $3 billion in infrastructure improvements. Our continued investments are aimed at strengthening grid resiliency in the face of worsening storms, incorporating automation, replacing and rebuilding power lines and substations and reshaping electricity networks to support the growth of renewables and other distributed energy resources.

In regulatory matters, we remained focused in 2019 on achieving balanced regulatory outcomes that will benefit our customers and our shareowners. In Kentucky, we received Public Service Commission approval of a combined $187 million revenue increase, which supports additional improvements to the grid, our natural gas lines and our generation fleet. New rates took effect May 1. And in the UK, we continued to actively engage with Ofgem to advance a balanced regulatory framework that will provide real value to customers, support the UK's electrification and decarbonization initiatives and provide fair and reasonable returns to investors when the next price control review period begins in 2023. Our engagement over the past year included meeting with Ofgem leadership and submitting responses to Ofgem's open letter consultation on behalf of both PPL and WPD, including our shareowners.

I'll note that the RIIO-ED2 framework released by Ofgem in December was largely in line with our expectations.

In summary, we're proud of our many achievements over the past year on behalf of PPL shareowners and customers. Our performance is reflected in the numerous awards received throughout the year. Looking ahead, we're committed to building on this momentum and adding to our long-term track record of financial and operational excellence.

Now turning to slide 5 and our 2020 outlook. Today, we initiated formal 2020 earnings guidance of $2.40 per share to $2.60 per share. This reflects our updated foreign currency hedge position, which we increased following the UK election that finally led to Brexit last month. Given the election result, we expect the UK business climate to remain strong as it has historically been.

Turning to our dividend. Today, we