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Earnings on the Rise

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Copyright © 2012 Albuquerque Journal

Coming off a healthy 2011, PNM Resources reported first-quarter earnings of $17.1 million compared to $16.6 million for the same period last year.

Ongoing earnings were $13.5 million, compared with $3.4 million in the first quarter of 2011.

“Our first-quarter results demonstrate the financial improvements of our regulated utilities, PNM and TNMP, both of which benefited from rate-case resolutions last year and now are providing stable earnings paths,” said Pat Vincent-Collawn, chair, president and CEO of PNM Resources, in a statement. “A slowly recovering economy during the first quarter, combined with a mild winter in New Mexico and Texas slightly tempered performance of both utilities.”

PNM is the state’s largest electric utility with about 500,000 customers, and TNMP is an electric transmission and distribution utility in Texas.

PNM earnings for the first three months of the year totaled $17.7 million, up from $3.6 million a year ago. Ongoing earnings were $14.1 million, compared to $0.8 million for that period last year.

The earning report attributes the improved earnings to lower operations and maintenance costs and to higher retail rates that took effect in August and rate structure that puts more of the increase into lower usage months in fall, winter and spring. It said lower sales prices associated with the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station Unit 3, from which PNM sells power to the wholesale market, negatively affected performance.

TNMP reported earnings of $3 million, down from $4.2 million during the first three months of 2011. It had ongoing earnings of $3.1 million.

The company said the repurchase of long-term debt in late 2011, made possible by net proceeds of the $329.3 million sale of First Choice Power to Direct Energy, decreased interest expenses.

The company also shed Optim Energy, which has an interest in three Texas generation plants, diluting its interest in Optim to 1 percent in September, with the remaining 1 percent acquired in January by ECJV Holdings.

The first quarter earnings report for 2011 included First Choice and Optim.

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