PG&E Corporation’s (PCG) earnings per share of 79 cents in the first quarter of fiscal 2010 comfortably beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 72 cents. It also moved past the year-ago EPS of 66 cents. 
The year-over-year improvement of 13 cents was due to the increase in rate base revenue (5 cents), market gains in benefit investment trusts (2 cents), absence of nuclear refueling outage and severance costs (8 cents), and miscellaneous items (3 cents). This was partially offset by higher storm and outage expenses (3 cents) and the dilutive effect of higher shares outstanding (2 cents).
On a reported basis, the company clocked earnings of 67 cents compared with 65 cents in the year-ago quarter.
The 12-cent difference between the reported and adjusted earnings came from cost of support for a statewide ballot initiative (5 cents) and tax impact of the recently enacted federal health care bill (7 cents).
Operational Results

PG&E’s revenue fell 1.3% to $3.5 billion from $3.4 billion in the year-ago quarter. Although Electric revenues rose 3.5% year over year to $2.5 billion, this was partially offset by 4% lower natural gas revenues, which decreased to $965 million.
PG&E’s earnings from operations were $303 million compared with $246 million in the year-ago period.
The quarter-over-quarter increase in earnings from operations primarily reflects higher authorized revenues associated with additional capital investments in Utility assets infrastructure, the absence of a scheduled refueling outage at Diablo Canyon Power Plant and the associated expenses that lowered earnings in the year-ago period.
The company recorded a net income of $258 million compared with $241 million in the year-ago quarter.
Going forward, PG&E will continue to focus on investing new capital consistent with California’s focus on clean energy. The company is mandated by California’s renewable portfolio standard to raise its renewable generation. California’s renewable portfolio standard requires utilities to generate 33% of power from renewable sources by fiscal 2020.
PG&E reaffirmed its previous guidance range of $3.35 – $3.50 per share for earnings from operations in fiscal 2010, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.40. For fiscal 2011, the company also reaffirmed its guidance range of $3.65 – $3.85 per share, also in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.71.

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