Duke Energy misses profit estimates as warm weather weighs on power usage

(Reuters) – Duke Energy Corp on Tuesday missed Wall Street estimates for first-quarter profit, as the gas and electric utilities firm was hit by unfavorable weather, higher interest expenses, and lower volumes.

Warmer-than-normal weather in the states serviced by the company weighed on customers’ electricity needs for heating in colder months.

Duke’s electric utilities, which serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, saw income fall about 12% to $791 million from last year.

Meanwhile for its gas utilities, which serve 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky, income rose about 13% to $287 million for the quarter, aided by better retail margins.

Income from gas and growth from rider charges helped the power provider’s quarterly revenue rise 3.8% to $7.3 billion and above analysts’ estimate of $6.6 billion.

Rider charges, added to the utility bill in addition to the tariff distribution rates approved by state regulators, are used by utilities to recover the costs of specific programs.

Duke said it earned $1.20 per share, on an adjusted basis, in the January-March quarter. Analysts had expected $1.26 per share.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company also reaffirmed its adjusted 2023 earnings per share forecast of $5.55 to $5.75, adding that its best quarters are ahead.

(Reporting by Arshreet Singh; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)