October 29, 2010 | last updated May 29, 2012 11:18 pm

Warm weather heats up Northeast Utilities 3Q earnings

Hartford utility giant Northeast Utilities increased its third quarter earnings by 55 percent compared to the third quarter of 2009, thanks to the warmer weather driving higher than expected use of air conditioning and new investments in the transmission grid.

NU's net income in the third quarter was $100.5 million, compared to $64.8 million for the third quarter of 2009. Earnings per share were 57 cents this third quarter, an increase of 54 percent over 2009's third quarter's earnings per share of 37 cents.

The warmer-than-usual weather was the principal driver, but NU Chairman and CEO Charles Shivery also attributed the gains to the company's investment in the transmission system, which includes new transmission lines in southwest Connecticut. Transmission sales were up 6 percent in the third quarter compared to last year.

NU's Connecticut electric utility - Connecticut Light & Power - distribution net income was $31.5 million in the third quarter, a significant increase over the 2009 third quarter earnings of $11.4 million.

The company's Connecticut natural gas utility - Yankee Gas - was in the red $2.9 million in the third quarter, a smaller loss than the 2009 third quarter of a $4.5 million loss. Yankee Gas was still up $16.1 million for the first nine months of the year, as summer sales tend to be the slowest for the natural gas company.

Northeast Utilities also operates electric utilities in New Hampshire and western Massachusetts. On Oct. 18, the company announced a $4.2 billion merger with Boston-based utility NStar, a deal to be complete in late 2011 creating the biggest utility company in New England.

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