) has filed for a natural gas rate increase with the Maine Public
Utilities Commission (MPUC). In addition, the company has placed
another request to the MPUC related to a multi-year rate scheme,
which will allow it to recover the costs that were invested
earlier for the improvisation of operational and safety
Per the filing, Unitil Corp. seeks a $4.6 million hike on its
base revenue or an increase of roughly 6.3% over the current
operating revenue in its Maine division. The new rates, if
approved by the MPUC, will be applicable for consumers in Maine
effective Jan 1, 2014.
Utility providers frequently invest in infrastructural
development, and implementation of new technologies related to
utilities generation, transmission and distribution. All these
efforts ensure uninterrupted and hassle-free natural gas and
electricity supply to the end-users.
The demand for natural gas continues to rise due to pricing,
which is nearly at its historic low. In the fourth quarter of
2012, Unitil Corp. experienced a higher requirement for natural
gas services along with an increase in customer count within its
service areas in Maine and New Hampshire. In 2012, the company
added and switched over 2,000 natural gas customers, up 50% from
Unitil Corp. has already invested $43.9 million in 2012 for the
development and maintenance of its natural gas infrastructure. In
2013, the company plans to invest nearly $49 million in several
gas construction projects. It intends to deploy $23 million for
the improvement of the gas delivery system to manage higher gas
sales volume. It is scheduled to invest a certain amount to
replace the natural gas infrastructure.
We believe that strong natural gas fundamentals will fuel Unitil
Corp.'s financial performance in the future, not only for its
pricing but also for its environmental benefits and emission-free
nature. The rising trend in natural gas consumption is also
likely to boost the company's financial performance.
Unitil Corp. currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks
from the industry that are presently performing well include
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P.
Pike Electric Corporation
). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Hampton, NH-based Unitil Corp. is a public utility company. It
engages in the delivery of natural gas and electricity in
northern New England.
BROOKFIELD INFR (BIP): Free Stock Analysis
EDISON INTL (EIX): Free Stock Analysis Report
PIKE ELECTRIC (PIKE): Free Stock Analysis
UNITIL CORP (UTL): Free Stock Analysis Report
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