November 1, 2012

NU praises employees' Sandy efforts in earnings report

The chief executive of New England conglomerate Northeast Utilities praised the efforts of its employees during Hurricane Sandy, as the company released its earnings report for the third quarter.

Tom May, president and CEO of NU, said the combined efforts of more than 9,000 employees and contract workers has improved the company's response to Hurricane Sandy, particularly because of NU's merger with Boston utility NStar in April.

"This storm recovery illustrates one of the most visible benefits of the merger," said Tom May, NU president and CEO. "As we complete work in some of the less impacted areas, we are able to redeploy hundreds of line and tree workers to the most damaged areas with the greatest number of power outages."

NU operates six electric and natural gas subsidiaries in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, including Connecticut Light & Power and Yankee Gas. NU is jointly headquartered in Boston and Hartford. CL&P had about 700,000 outages during Sandy and is expecting substantial restoration by Tuesday.

Before the merger, CL&P was widely criticized for its response to widespread power outages in 2011, stemming from storms in August and October.

In the third quarter, NU earned $207.6 million, or 66 cents per share, vs. $90 million, or 51 cents per share, in the third quarter 2011. The significant increase was caused by the inclusion of NStar Gas and NStar Electric in the earnings report.

CL&P earned $73.5 million in the third quarter, compared to $65.1 million in the third quarter 2011. The improvement came from higher transition earnings.

NU's natural gas segment, which includes Yankee Gas and NStar Gas, lost $4.4 million in the third quarter vs. $3 million in the third quarter 2011 when the total only included Yankee. Natural gas utilities usually operate at a loss during the warmer months and then create positive earnings in the colder months when demand rises.

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