A colder and more normal winter this year compared with 2012 boosted electricity usage in the first quarter and helped the Tennessee Valley Authority raise both sales and earnings during the first three months of 2013.
TVA said today it earned $54 million on sales of $2.7 billion during the fiscal quarter ended March 31. In the same period a year ago, TVA lost $94 million on sales of under $2.6 billion.
Despite the winter gain in residential sales of electricity, however, TVA said industrial sales were down by 10.4 percent in the first three months of 2013 as overall power demand continues to remain relatively flat. TVA made up for some of the lost industrial sales within its 7-state region by selling more of its power to other utilities.
"Although TVA experienced a slight increase in sales of electricity in 2013 compared to 2012, TVA continues to focus on reducing costs in response to a decline in demand for electricity, both regionally and across the United States," TVA said in its quarterly report filed today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
In the first half of TVA's current fiscal year, the federal utility lost $191 million on sales of $5.3 billion. During the same period a year ago, TVA lost $267 million on sales of under $5.2 billion.
In response to the losses a year ago, TVA initiated a companywide "diet and exercise" cost-cutting program to put the agency back in the black by the end of fiscal 2012.
"We ended the second quarter 2013 essentially on plan," TVA President Bill Johnson said in a statement today. "More normal weather had a favorable impact, as did employee efforts to reduce costs."
TVA Chief Financial Officer John Thomas said TVA will continue to try to hold down costs and maintain reliability by "developing a more balanced generation portfolio through effective asset management."