Avista Corp. has reported a dip in second-quarter earnings it says are the result of higher customer loads and power supply costs caused by a record-breaking heat wave that swept the Pacific Northwest in late June.
The Spokane-based utility reported second-quarter net income of $14.1 million, or 20 cents per share, compared to $17.5 million, or 26 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2020.
“We had lower than normal hydroelectric generation due to hot and dry conditions, so we had to rely on additional thermal generation and market purchases at higher costs to serve those additional loads,” Dennis Vermillion, Avista president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
The utility set a new systemwide peak electric load during the June heat wave and implemented rolling blackouts to prevent longer outages, resulting in thousands of customers losing power. Avista indicated it’s committed to reducing the impact on customers in the future through system modifications.
Earnings met expectations for Avista’s subsidiary Alaska Electric Light & Power, and its other businesses exceeded earnings expectations because of investment gains and revenue generated by the sale of the Spokane Steam Plant, according to the company.
Avista confirmed its 2021 consolidated earnings guidance with a range of $1.96 to $2.16 per share, but it lowered its 2022 consolidated earnings guidance by 15 cents per share to a range of $2.03 to $2.23 per share.
The decrease in earnings guidance for Avista Utilities is primarily because of a regulatory lag related to an increase in capital expenses and greater than expected depreciation expenses, according to the company.
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