Portland General Electric Company (POR)

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Portland General Electric Company (POR)

Q4 2012 Earnings Call

February 22, 2013 11:00 AM ET


Bill Valach - Director, IR

Jim Piro - President and CEO

Maria Pope - SVP, Finance and CFO


Neil Mehta - Goldman Sachs

Lauren Duke - Deutsche Bank

Brian Russo - Ladenburg Thalmann

Andrew Weisel - Macquarie Capital

Sarah Akers - Wells Fargo

Michael Bates - DA Davidson

Maurice May - Wellington Shields

John Alley - Decade Capital

Andy Levi - Avon Capital



Good morning everyone. And welcome to Portland General Electric Company’s Fourth Quarter 2012 Earnings Results Conference Call. Today is Friday, February 22, 2013. This call is being recorded and as such all lines have been placed on-mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers’ remarks there will be a question-and-answer period. (Operator Instructions).

For opening remarks, I would like to turn the conference call over to Portland General Electric’s Director of Investor Relations, Mr. Bill Valach. Please go ahead, sir.

Bill Valach

Thank you, Brian, and good morning, everyone. We are pleased that you can join us today. Before we begin our discussion this morning, I would like to remind you that we have prepared a PowerPoint presentation to supplement our discussion today and we’ll be referring to slides throughout the call. For those of you accessing the call over the phone, these slides are available on our website at portlandgeneral.com.

Referring to slide 2, I would also like to make our customary statements regarding Portland General Electric’s written and oral disclosures and commentary. There will be statements on this call that are not based on historical facts and as such constitute forward-looking statements under current law. These statements are subject to factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements made today.

For a description of some of the factors that may occur that could cause such differences, the company requests that you read our most recent Form 10-K and Form 10-Qs. The Form 10-K for the year end 2012 is available on our website at portlandgeneral.com. The company undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, and the Safe Harbor statement should be incorporated as part of any transcript of this call. Portland General Electric’s fourth quarter and full year earnings were released before the market opened today and the release is available on our website at portlandgeneral.com.

Leading our discussion today are Jim Piro, President and CEO and Maria Pope, Senior Vice President of Finance, CFO and Treasurer. Jim will begin today’s presentation by providing a review of our performance in 2012 and an update on our strategic capital projects. Then Maria will provide more detail around the quarterly and annual results, our expectations for 2013 and our 2014 general rate case filing. Following these prepared remarks, we will open the lines up for your questions.

And it’s now my pleasure to turn the call over to Jim.

Jim Piro

Thanks Bill. Good morning and thank you for joining us. Welcome to Portland General Electric’s 2012 fourth quarter and year-end earnings call.

As slide four shows, on today’s call, I'll provide an overview of our financial and operating performance, give an update on the economy and our operating area and discuss the progress on our strategic initiatives. Then Maria will provide a financial update discussing PGE’s fourth quarter and full year results, as well as our recently filed general rate case and outlook for 2013.

So let's begin. As you can see on slide 5, PGE's net income was $28 million or $0.38 per share for the fourth quarter of 2012 and $141 million or $1.87 per share for the full year. We are initiating full year 2013 earnings guidance of $1.85 to $2 per diluted share.

Now, into operational excellence on slide 6. We continue to deliver excellent operating performance in 2012. PGE's delivery system and generating facilities operated extremely well with the average duration and frequency of outages being low and in the top quartile. Our generating plant availability factors were better than our goals.

In regard to overall customer satisfaction, PGE's ratings remain strong. We are the top investor owned utility in the nation for residential customer satisfaction and number one in the west for general business customer satisfaction according to JD Powers and Associates. PGE also ranks second nationally for large key customer satisfaction in the TQS research survey. I am also pleased with the results we're seeing from our benchmarking and best practices work.

We've been leveraging technology and implementing new systems in several areas of the company including transmission and distribution, human resources and finance and accounting. These changes are helping us to create efficiency, improve processes and reduce costs which is important in our efforts to keep customer prices as low as possible in the face of growing regulatory and inflationary cost. I'd like to take this opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication of our employees who have helped us maintain excellent service to our customers.

Now let us move on to slide 7 for the economic outlook in our operating area. We're seeing continued growth, particularly in the high tech sector and manufacturing sector. In the second half of 2012, Intel and Nike announced significant expansion plans in our service area and while the solar industry's environment continues to be challenging, it's more than offset by growth in the high tech and data centers.

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