Jackson-based CMS Energy Thursday reported first quarter net income of $135 million, or 52 cents a per share, up from $85 mllion or 34 cents a share in the same quarter of 2010.
The first quarter results reflect colder than normal winter temperatures that boosted natural gas and electric sales at the company’s Michigan utility, Consumers Energy. Those sales increases partially were offset by costs the utility incurred in restoring service to electric customers after a series of unusually severe winter storms.
CMS Energy reaffirmed its guidance for 2011 adjusted earnings of $1.44 per share. That’s an increase of about 6 percent from 2010 adjusted earnings and is consistent with the company’s long-term plan of 5 percent to 7 percent annual earnings growth.
While the company expects 2011 reported earnings to be about the same as its adjusted earnings, reported earnings could vary because of several factors, such as legacy issues associated with prior asset sales. Because of those uncertainties, the company isn’t providing reported earnings guidance.
John Russell, CMS Energy’s president and CEO, said the company is making substantial investments in renewable energy, environmental quality, energy efficiency and other areas to continue to provide customers with safe, reliable and affordable service. The company plans to invest more than $6 billion in its Consumers Energy operations through 2015, making it one of the largest investors in Michigan, he said.
“These investments create jobs and boost the state’s economy. We’re seeing encouraging signs that Michigan’s economy is starting to rebound, primarily in increased electric sales to industrial customers,” he said. “We want to continue to provide a good energy value to customers, so as we’re making these substantial investments, we’re also aggressively managing costs. We’ve made a number of changes recently that we expect to produce operational savings of about $100 million this year. Our customers will see the benefit from those savings in our rates. Our plan calls for holding our base rate increase levels to at or below the rate of inflation for the next five years.”
He noted that Consumers Energy updated its renewable energy plan to reflect the latest market conditions in a recent Michigan Public Service Commission filing. That updated plan reaffirms the company’s commitment to meet the state’s 10 percent renewable energy standard and, because of lower projected costs, calls for reducing the renewable energy surcharge on customer bills by about $55 million per year.
Consumers Energy already is the largest supplier of renewable energy in Michigan. Today, 5 percent of the power that the utility supplies to its 1.8 million electric customers comes from renewable sources.
CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS) is a Michigan-based company that has an electric and natural gas utility, Consumers Energy, as its primary business and also owns and operates independent power generation businesses.
More at www.cmsenergy.com.