Sierra Pacific Resources Reports Improved Earnings

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Sierra Pacific Resources reported sharply improved earnings on Tuesday, as a result of a settlement regarding carrying charges on a deferred energy rate case, continued customer growth and lower interest expenses.

The parent company of the state's two major utilities - Sierra Pacific Power Co. in the north and Nevada Power Co. in the south - recorded net income of $15.6 million in the first quarter of this year, compared with $1.2 million in the January-March period a year earlier.
Both of our utilities are benefiting from customer growth and we are continuing to see positive results from our back to basics strategy and organizational efficiencies implemented during the past two years," Chairman and CEO Walt Higgins said during a conference call with investors and analysts. "We're very pleased with the progress we're making."

Earnings for the period that ended March 31 amounted to 7 cents a share on revenues of $338 million compared with income equivalent to 1 cent a share on revenues of $325.5 million in the first quarter of 2006.

Sierra Pacific share prices were all but unchanged Tuesday closing at $18.27, up 1 cent on the New York Stock Exchange.

Nevada Power reported income of $4.6 million for the first quarter of 2007, compared with a net loss of $3.3 million for the same period in 2006. Its earnings benefited from favorable rulings allowing it to increase electricity rates stemming from a 2001 case.

For the first quarter of 2007, Sierra Pacific Power reported earnings applicable to common stock of $22 million compared with $12.3 million for the same period a year earlier.

Both companies added customers, although not as many as in past
years. While growth in the state, particularly in the Las Vegas area, has flattened out after the surge earlier this decade, Higgins said more level housing starts had been partly offset by new casino projects both on and off the Las Vegas Strip.

"It is very hard to see that there is any enduring overbuild that exists or is likely to exist in the Las Vegas market," he said. "The growth might not be 6 percent, but at 4 percent or 4.5 percent, it is very robust," he said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)