Energy Future Holdings loses $569 million in first quarter

Posted Thursday, May. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A small increase in revenues at Energy Future Holdings in the year’s first three months wasn’t enough to offset heavy interest costs and other one-time charges as the Dallas-based power company lost $569 million in the quarter.

At the same time, the company said that its cash on hand rose to $2.3 billion and that it should be able to meet debt obligations until October 2014. The former TXU Corp. has been in restructuring talks with creditors; it disclosed the possibility last month that it could seek a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

In a related transaction, a company spokesman confirmed Thursday that EFH made a scheduled $270 million interest payment Wednesday. It reported $38 billion in long-term debt as of March 31.

The company’s first-quarter loss compared with a $304 million net loss a year earlier. The biggest driver of additional red ink was a sizable loss on natural gas hedges, which produced a gain in the 2012 period. Natural gas prices have been rising from last year’s 10-year lows, and that reduces the value of the company’s hedges.

Revenue was $1.26 billion, up 3 percent from a year ago. A year earlier, it plunged 27 percent, when a mild winter trimmed demand and low natural gas prices pulled down the price of electricity in Texas.

The past quarter’s revenue increased even though the company’s total electricity sales were slightly lower. Consumption by retail customers slipped 4 percent and was only partly offset by higher wholesale volumes. EFH owns Luminant Generation, the state’s largest power generator.

TXU Energy, EFH’s retail marketing subsidiary, continued to lose customers. The number of residential power customers slipped 3.6 percent to just over 1.5 million, a long-term erosion it lessened but did not reverse in the past quarter. Small-business customers also declined by 2 percent, and EFH said the lower customer counts resulted from tougher competition and its goal of maintaining targeted profit margins.

Interest costs on its more than $40 billion in total debt continued to take their toll on earnings. EFH said it paid $784 million in interest and related expenses in the quarter, about the same as last year.

As usual, the strongest financial performance was at Oncor Electric Delivery, the regulated utility that distributes power to most of North Texas and which is 80 percent owned by EFH. Oncor earned $85 million on $817 million in revenue during the quarter as its number of customers rose to 3.25 million.

Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 Twitter: @jimfuquay

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