Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

PPL Corporation (PPL), Duke Energy Corp (DUK), FirstEnergy Corp. (FE): Energy Companies Energizing Revenue

The rising population has led to an increase in demand for utility supplies. The utilities business is monopolistic in nature and thus requires regulation. The government regulates the prices of utility supplies to maintain reasonable limits, as they serve basic human needs. The utilities keep trying to increase prices of their services by filing rate cases.

The state of economy is a key driver for utilities, and the improving economy acts as tailwind for the utility sector. In this article, I will analyze three utility companies trying to gain by either filing rate cases or divesting non-core assets to improve their outlook. Let’s see what opportunities these companies have for investors. Even if your bill is going up, at least your portfolio can too.

Kentucky utility case and fast track decision

In November 2012, PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL) announced the settlement of Kentucky Utility’s rate case. The settlement went into effect from January 2013 with an increase in revenue of $99.7 million and 10.25% rate of return. Rate of return is calculated on the basis of rate base and is its capital investment and includes both tangible and intangible assets.

It is expected that its Kentucky rate base will rise to $9 billion in 2015 from $7.2 billion this year. With this rise, the company is expected to file new rates in 2014, which will be effective from 2015. This will generate additional revenue of $136 million in 2015.

PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL)’s U.K. subsidiary, Western Power Distribution, or WPD, has filed a fast track application for rate filings of its utilities. The U.K. regulator will make a fast track draft determination by November and a final decision in March 2014. A fast track decision means that WPD’s plans are accepted without any changes. A fast track decision is granted on the basis of completeness of rate case filing and historic performance of utilities.

It’s expected that the company will receive this approval since its utilities have ranked best in reliability and customer services. This acceptance will provide incentives of 2.5% of its total expenditure. The company generates around 60% of its earnings from the U.K., therefore, this approval should become a key catalyst going forward.

Rate settlement and merger resulting in cost savings

Duke Energy CorpIn February 2013, Duke Energy Carolinas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK), filed a case to raise the base rate with North Carolina Utilities Commission, or NCUC, Public Staff. The settlement agreement was filed with the NCUC regarding the increase on June 17, 2013.

The settlement with NCUC will raise the rates for customers by around 5%. The hearing of the case will begin in late July, with the final decision expected in September 2013. It is expected that if this settlement is approved, it will increase revenue by $205 million annually in the first two years.

Additionally, Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) is on track to realize synergies from its merger with Progress Energy. This merger made Duke the largest regulated utility company in the U.S., serving around 7.1 million customers. Through the merger, the company expects to deliver cost savings of $687 million in five years.

It is expected that reducing fuel cost will result in savings of $331 million, and its joint operation of the Carolinas generation fleet will bring savings of $356 million. By April, it generated savings of $97 million compared to the estimated $70 million. The company is using cheaper coal from the Illinois Basin and Appalachian to generate higher savings. It also entered into a supply contract, resulting in definitive savings of $238 million from fuel savings to be realized in the coming years.

Debt reorganization and assets sale

To reduce short-term debt and interest burden, FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE) issued $1.5 billion senior unsecured notes in first quarter ended March 2013. The notes were issued in two series of $650 million at 2.75% due in March 2018 and $850 million at 4.25% due in March 2023.

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT: Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks

Let Warren Buffett, George Soros, Steve Cohen, and Daniel Loeb WORK FOR YOU.

If you want to beat the low cost index funds by 19 percentage points per year, look no further than our monthly newsletter.In this free report you can find an in-depth analysis of the performance of Warren Buffett's entire historical stock picks. We uncovered Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks and a way to for Buffett to improve his returns by more than 4 percentage points per year.

Bonus Biotech Stock Pick: You can also find a detailed bonus biotech stock pick that we expect to return more than 50% within 12 months.
Subscribe me to Insider Monkey's Free Daily Newsletter
This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.