The winter freeze that hit the state earlier this year help boost earnings by 28 percent for the owner of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.
SCANA Corp. said it first-quarter profit jumped to $193 million, or $1.37 per share. Analysts expected the Cayce-based energy holding company to report per-share earnings of $1.10.
Revenue for the first three months of the year totaled $1.59 billion, up 22 percent, well above the projected $1.28 billion.
SCANA said it was pleased with the results.
"Margins were higher than last year due mainly to an extremely cold first quarter, continued customer growth in our service territories and a rate increase at South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.," said Jimmy Addison, executive vice president and chief financial officer.
He also noted that the company in December ended a program that was designed to smooth out weather-related spikes in its customers' power bills. That means SCANA's earnings "are now subject to the impact of abnormal weather in our electric business," Addison said
Earnings at SCE&G jumped 40 percent $126 million for the first quarter.
As of March 31, the main SCANA subsidiary was serving about 681,000 electric customers and 332,000 natural gas customers in South Carolina, respective increases of 1.3 percent and 2.4 percent from a year ago.
The parent company also has about 700,000 gas customers in North Carolina and Georgia.
SCANA also reaffirmed its previous guidance for 2014 earnings, saying profits will fall with the range of $3.45 to $3.65 per share.