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NV Energy Inc.’s first-quarter 2013 earnings per share were 9 cents, a penny higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate and up 80% from the year-ago results. The increase in earnings was driven by favorable weather conditions, decline in operations and maintenance expenses, as well as lower interest costs.

Revenues

Operating revenues were $584.2 million, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.2% and decreasing 4.4% year over year.

Operational Highlights

Total operating expenses declined 7% year over year to $479 million primarily owing to decrease in energy efficiency program costs and maintenance expenses.

Despite decrease in revenues, minimization of total operating expenses enabled the company to improve its operating income by 9% year over year to $105.2 million.

Financial Update

As of Mar 31, 2013, NV Energy had cash balance of $251 million compared with $298.3 million as of Dec 31, 2012.

Long-term debt as of Mar 31, 2013 was $4.5 billion versus $4.7 billion as of Dec 31, 2012.

Net cash provided by operating activities during the first three months of 2013 was $88.9 million, up 32.1% year over year.

Guidance

NV Energy expects full-year 2013 earnings in the range of $1.25 to $1.35 per share.

Other Utility Company Releases

American Electric Power Co. Inc. (AEP - Analyst Report) reported first quarter earnings of 80 cents per share, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Entergy Corporation (ETR - Analyst Report) reported first quarter operational earnings of 94 cents per share that came at par with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Exelon Corporation (EXC - Analyst Report) announced first quarter operating earnings of 70 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2 cents.

Our View

NV Energy continues to make strategic investments to strengthen its generation and transmission capacities. The company intends to invest $520 million in 2013 primarily to boost its low cost clean generation assets. NV Energy’s NV Energize smart grid project is 95% complete and its One Nevada transmission project is on schedule.

As a major portion of NV Energy’s generation comes from natural gas sources, this helps the company to lower its environment compliance expenditures.

In addition, the company projects an annual increase in customer count by 1.2% in 2013 and a decline in interest expenses due to repayment of debts. We believe all these will lead to improvement in results for the company.

However, weather variations and unplanned outages, may to some extent, restrict NV Energy’s future performance.

Las Vegas, Nev.-based NV Energy and its subsidiaries engage in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electric energy in Nevada. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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