Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PEG)

PEG 
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Exchange: NYSE
Industry: Public Utilities
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Public Service Enterprise Group (PEG)

Q1 2011 Earnings Call

May 05, 2011 11:00 am ET

Executives

Ralph Izzo - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President, Chairman of Executive Committee, Chairman of PSEG Power LLC, Chairman of Public Service Electric & Gas Company, Chief Executive Officer of PSEG Power LLC and Chief Executive Officer of Public Service Electric & Gas Company

Caroline Dorsa - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Kathleen Lally - Vice President of Investor Relations

Analysts

Paul Fremont - Jefferies & Company, Inc.

Angie Storozynski - Macquarie Research

Paul Patterson - Glenrock Associates

Jonathan Arnold - Deutsche Bank AG

Ashar Khan - SAC Capital

Marc de Croisset - FBR Capital Markets & Co.

Nathan Judge - Atlantic Equities LLP

Reza Hatefi - Polygon Investment Partners

Julien Dumoulin-Smith - UBS Investment Bank

Gregg Orrill - Barclays Capital

Unknown Analyst -

Steven Fleishman - BofA Merrill Lynch

Brian Chin - Citigroup Inc

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Public Service Enterprise Group First Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call and Webcast. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this call is being recorded, Thursday, May 5, 2011, and will be available for replay beginning at 1:00 p.m., May 5, 2011, through May 12, 2011. It will be also available as an audio webcast on PSEG corporate website at www.pseg.com. I like to turn the conference over to Ms. Kathleen Lally. Please go ahead.

Kathleen Lally

Thank you, Janisha. Good morning. Thank you for participating in PSEG's call this morning. As you are aware, we did release our first quarter of 2011 earnings statement earlier today. And as mentioned, the release and attachments are posted on our website at www.pseg.com, under the Investors section. We also posted a series of slides that detail operating results by company for the quarter. Our 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2011, will be filed later today. I'm not going to read the full disclaimer statement or the comments we have on the difference between operating earnings and GAAP results. As you know, the earnings release and other matters that we will discuss in today's call contain forward-looking statements and estimates that are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Although we may elect to update our forward-looking statements from time to time, we specifically disclaim any obligation to do so, even if our estimate changes unless required. Our release also contains adjusted non-GAAP operating earnings. I ask that you refer to today's 8-K or our other filings and discussion of the factors that may cause results to differ from management's projections, forecasts and expectations, as well as for reconciliation of operating earnings to GAAP results.

I'm now going to turn the call over to Ralph Izzo, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Public Service Enterprise Group. And joining Ralph on the call is Caroline Dorsa, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

At the conclusion of their remarks, there will be time for your questions.

Ralph Izzo

Thank you, Kathleen, and thank you, everyone, for joining us today. For earlier this morning, we reported operating earnings for the first quarter of 2011 of $0.85 per share, to be compared with operating earnings of $0.87 per share in 2010's first quarter. Our results for the first quarter are strong in the face of difficult market conditions, largely due to the fact that our employees continue to perform at the top of their professions. Probably the best example of that performance is in our nuclear operations. The PSEG Power team's responsiveness was ably demonstrated throughout the quarter as they maintain their commitment to safe, reliable operations and met increased costs for information on nuclear reactor design and emergency response procedures following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that damaged several nuclear units at the Fukushima site. Bill Levis, our President at PSEG Power, testified before the United States House of Representatives and Senate on behalf of the industry regarding its ability to respond to emergency situations as well as the operational improvements which have been added over the years. Bill and his team have also accommodated numerous local, state and federal requests for information on the effectiveness of the nuclear reactor design and emergency procedures in place of Salem and Hope Creek. These efforts are an extension of Power's ongoing community outreach to ensure public trust in our ability to operate our nuclear units in a safe, reliable manner.

It appears that the impact on nuclear reactors in Japan was caused by events, which exceeded the limits supported by the reactor design. Although it will take some time before the implications for the U.S. nuclear industry are fully understood, the industry has begun a thorough re-evaluation of safety planning and preparedness and we owe nothing less to the public.

And as you know, we filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in August of 2009 for approval to extend the operating lives of our Salem and Hope Creek reactors. The process is on schedule, and we continue to expect to hear this summer from the NRC on our requests. This timely response speaks to the community support enjoyed by Power in Salem County, the preparedness of our workforce and the material condition of the facilities.

Now on a separate topic, the economy in our service territory has stabilized and is showing signs of growth, however slight. Weather-normalized sales to the commercial customer base, which is our largest customer segment, has improved its unemployment, although still high, has declined. A return of growth would be welcome as we confront the marketplace still challenged by lower pricing.

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