Alliant Energy Corporation (NYSE:LNT)
Alliant Energy Corporation Annual Shareholder Meeting 2012
May 17, 2012 1:00 PM EST
Patricia Kampling – Chairman, President and CEO
Jack Buri – Corporate Secretary and Assistant General Counsel
Board of Directors
Patrick E. Allen – Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Rockwell Collins
Michael Bennett – Private Investor
Darryl Hazel – Principal, Darryl B. Hazel Consulting
Singleton B. McAllister – Partner at Blank Rome Law Firm
Ann Newhall – Retired Executive
Dean C. Oestreich – Consultant at Pioneer Hi-Bred International
David A. Perdue – Chief Executive Officer of Aquila Group
Judith P. Pyle – President and Chief Executive Officer of Judith Dion Pyle and Associates
Carol P. Sanders – Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company
Patricia L. Kampling
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I am Pat Kampling, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alliant Energy Corporation. We are delighted to have you here with us today at Madison as we convene Alliant Energy Corporation’s 2012 Annual Meeting of Shareowners. Joining me on the stage this afternoon is Jack Buri, our Corporate Secretary.
At Alliant Energy safety is a priority and we begin each meeting with a safety share. Today’s safety share was submitted by our energy delivery group and it’s about urging everyone one here to be prepared for a weather emergency. Please do three simple things. First, put together an emergency supply kit. Second, have a plan and know what your options to remain safe if a severe storm strikes. And third, stay informed by monitoring the news and purchasing a weather radio.
I now ask that you all rise and join us for the singing of our national anthem. I would like to introduce our singers today, Rachel Barons Van Hist and Erin Dona, both employees in the communications department.
That was beautiful. Thank you very much. Please be seated. You had an opportunity to vote earlier. However, if you did not vote or may wish to do so now by visiting the shareholder services table located in the lobby. I will not be calling for voting from the floor today so please vote if you haven’t done so yet. Voting today will be for three items as set forth in the 2012 proxy statement. First the election of five directors and two separate classes, nominated for a term expiring in the year 2014 are Patrick E. Allen and me Patricia L. Kampling. And nominate for a term expiring in the year 2015 are Ann Newhall, Dean Oestreich and Carol Sanders.
Second item is for an advisory vote on compensation of the named executive officers of the company and the third item is for the ratification of the appointment of Deloitte & Touche LLP as the company’s independent registered public accounting firm for the year 2012. For your information, the notice of annual meeting, the certificate of mailing and the minutes of the company’s 2011 annual meeting of shareowners are available for inspection at the shareowners services table.
I would now like to make a few introductions. Representatives of our independent registered public accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP are present at the meeting today and will be available for questions. Time relating the votes today are Todd May, Senior Vice President and Head of Shareowner Services at Wells Fargo, our transfer agent and from Alliant Energy Shareowner Services we have Carey Nelson and Joni Aeschbach. I do want to thank Joni, our manager of Shareowner Services for her nearly 40 years of service to the company. Joni will be retiring later this year and I want to personally thank her for her dedication to shareowners.
We’re also pleased to have representation of electrical workers 965 in Wisconsin as well as local the 204 in Iowa. We are glad that you could join us today and we do value our partnership with you. I would like to take a moment and recognize Bill Harvey. As you know, Bill retired from Alliant Energy early this year after serving for six years as our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Bill led the company through an impressive refocusing phase, helping us to be financially stronger and delivering better service to our customers. I know I express the feelings of our employees and our directors when I say it was a pleasure working with Bill. We certainly miss his leadership, his sense of humor and his extensive vocabulary. Enjoy your time Bill, you earned it.
I am pleased that some of our retired directors and executives are with us today. We greatly appreciate the contributions these individuals made over the years and I appreciate your continued support. Would you like to stand and be recognized please? Thank you. You can now be seated.
At this time it’s my privilege to introduce Alliant Energy independent board of directors. Please hold your applause until all board members have been introduced. Patrick E. Allen, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Michael Bennett, private investor from Sioux City, Iowa. Mike is a chair of our nominating and governance committee and is our lead independent director. Darryl Hazel, principal of Darryl B. Hazel Consulting located in Detroit Michigan; Singleton B. McAllister, a partner at the law firm of Blank Rome located in Washington D.C; Ann Newhall, retired executive from Maple Grove, Minnesota. Ann is the chair of our compensation and personnel committee. Dean C. Oestreich, Consultant at Pioneer Hi-Bred International located in Johnston, Iowa. Dean is the chair of our environmental nuclear health and safety committee. David A. Perdue, Chief Executive Officer of Aquila Group from Sea Island, Georgia and Judith P. Pyle, President and Chief Executive Officer of Judith Dion Pyle and Associates located on Middleton, Wisconsin and Carol P. Sanders, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company located in Neenah, Wisconsin. Carol is the chair of our audit committee.
Would you all please stand? Please join me in thanking your board. Thank you. You may be seated. I would also like to recognize the officers of the company who have joined us here today. Would you please stand? I’d like to thank these talented individuals for their dedication and contributions that have made our company successful. Please join me in recognizing them. Thank you.
Jack has advised me that a quorum is represented in person or by proxy at this meeting today and now I would like to officially call the annual meeting to order. Now let’s turn to the three items that are to be voted on today. Your proxies will be inspected and the voter results are based on the balance received (inaudible) available.
Patricia L. Kampling
Would you please read the result?
A total of more than 91 million shares of common stock at the corporation, representing 82% of the shares outstanding and eligible to vote today are represented at this meeting. Each of the five nominees for director received a majority of the votes cast. The proposal for the shareowners to approve the compensation of the company’s named executive officers as disclosed in the proxy statement received a majority of the votes cast. The proposal to ratify the appointment of Deloitte & Touche as the company’s independent registered public accounting firm for 2012 received a majority of the votes cast.
Patricia L. Kampling
Thank you, Jack. I now declare that the nominees all of them qualify to be a director are elected as directors of the company to a term expiring as described in the proxy. The proposal on a compensation of the named executives officers has been approved and the proposal to ratify the appointment of Deloitte & Touche LLP to serve as the company’s independent registered public accounting firm for the year 2012 has been approved.
At this point, I propose that we end the business portion of the meeting. May I entertain a motion to adjourn? May I have a second motion? The business portion of this meeting is now adjourned.
Thank you once again for joining me here today for our Alliant Energy meeting of shareowners. While I can stand here and talk to you about the exciting things that are happening at the company, I’d rather show you. Therefore following my comments there will be a short video presentation that will provide you with a look at what’s going on at Alliant Energy as told by our employees. After the video, we will have our traditional question and answer session.
Before I begin, I need to remind you that the remarks I share with you today include forward looking statements as noted on this slide. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks that could cause actual results to be materially different. Those risks include, among other things, certain matters discussed in my remarks and in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
My goal today is to tell you a brief history of who we are and what we do. Our strategic plan and mission are built (inaudible). Whether we’re serving a home, school or a business, we know we play a vital role in everyday life. We will continue to keep the lights on and the energy flowing to those who depend on us. Our focus on maintaining competitive electric rates, especially during these challenging economic times, are benefiting our customers as you can see from the slide. Not only have we been working hard to manage customer rates, we’re also encouraging our customers to lower their usage through energy efficiency programs. We believe that our focus on meeting our customer needs is reflected in returns to you our shareowners. As shareowners, you received a 7.5% increase in your common dividend in 2011 and are realizing an additional 6% increase in 2012. We are pleased to reward your commitment and support of our company.
Our stock also performed very well in 2011. It began the year at $36.77 per share and closed the year at $44.11 per share, a 20% increase. Our capital investment in 2011 (inaudible) million in capital projects, which included reducing emissions of our generating fleet and reliability projects in the field. You will see some of these projects highlighted on the video and we made these significant investments while basically keeping customer rates flat. Now that’s a good story.
Unfortunately, a sluggish economy and uncertain environmental regulations continue. However, our company has a solid plan to succeed even with this uncertainty. With the talented employees at Alliant Energy, we can and will perform at a high level and continue the financial success you have come to expect. Although we will be spending an historic amount of capital, approximately $4 billion over the next four years, we are clearly focused on earning consistent returns on that capital while minimizing customer rate increases.
An important part of the Alliant Energy story is how we impact our communities. The Alliant Energy Foundation and the many employees and retirees that contribute their time, money and energy make the _ reserve even better places to live and do business. The responsibility that our company and employees have to our local communities (inaudible) to improving our environment. We continue to take aggressive steps to reduce our emissions from our coal fire plants. This includes adding emission controls at our largest, most efficient coal plants and the inevitable closure of our smaller, less efficient plants. Once these have occurred, we will significantly reduce emissions. That is good for us, good for our families and good for future generations. Not only do our environmental control projects improve the environment, but during construction we’re also creating hundreds of well paying jobs in our communities. We are pleased that we could contribute to the economic development in our communities during these challenging times.
Before I show the video, I must recognize the greatest asset at Alliant Energy, our people. I continue to be impressed with our employees and what they accomplish every day. We know we can count on our employees and they know they can count on Alliant Energy to provide a safe, respectful and welcoming work environment. Our employees are really special people. They are committed (inaudible) and they do truly care about our customers, our communities and each other. I can’t tell you how many people reached out to me to express their support since I took on my new role. I am proud to be leading this great workforce. I do appreciate their hard work and dedication.
Now I’d like to share a video with you highlighting some of our projects and activities that will better serve our customers. The story is told through the voice of our employees themselves. I think you’ll agree that we have remarkable people working at Alliant Energy and that they’re very dedicated to the success of your company.
I hope you now have a good sense of what we do and how we do it. We’re very proud to be sharing this information with you today. Thank you for listening to our story. Before I open up for the question-and-answer period, I do want to discuss one more important topic with you here today though, the tax treatment of your dividend. This issue has direct implications to you our investors. Dividends have provided you an important source of income and dividend paying stocks have raised funds needed for capital investments. We will work with our elected officials to encourage the extension of lower dividend and a couple of gains taxes. We need you to be an active voice in this discussion. Please go to defendmydividend.org and let your congressional representatives know you want to prevent the dividend tax hike.
The Wisconsin Utility Investor Group has a table in the back of the room and they can help you voice your support on these important issues. Wisconsin Utility Investors is a grassroots organization that has represented shareowners in Wisconsin investor owned utilities, including Alliant Energy, since 1980. We appreciate their presence here today.
Now I am pleased to open the floor to any questions you may have. In the interest of fairness, I would ask that you please adhere to the guidelines for shareowner questions and comments outlined in your program. We ask that you state your name, your hometown and verify that you are indeed a shareowner of Alliant Energy Corporation. Also in the interest of fairness, we ask (inaudible) two minutes. Further, for questions of a personal nature or relates to your pension or health insurance benefits, we ask that you please someone at the shareowner services table for assistance. There are two microphone stations located on the floor so if you have a question please provide to the microphone nearest you. If you have difficulty getting to one of the microphone stations, please raise your hand and one of our volunteers will bring a microphone to you. If you have more than one question, please limit your questions to one at a time to allow others an opportunity to ask their questions. I will now entertain questions from the floor.
Patricia L. Kampling
Can you go to microphone number two please?
Ron Henry- Shareholder
My name is Ron Henry, Rosen Group Home Wisconsin. I’ve been a shareholder before Alliant Energy was Alliant Energy. My concern is this, (inaudible) regulatory environment and especially (inaudible) becoming more environmentally concerned. We have power plants that have been in operation since 1960s. We have an aging infrastructure and all those sorts of things kind of pile on to our corporate expense account. As a shareholder my concern is this, what steps are we taking proactively to ensure that we’re ahead of the game and not behind the game?
Patricia L. Kampling
That’s a very good question and we are taking steps very proactively. Starting with our strategic plan from a couple of years ago, we’ve really focused on our generating fleet knowing exactly that these rules, some known and some unknown, were coming down the path. So we’ve actually tiered our assets and as you see from the video, we’re in the process right now of making sure our largest, most efficient coal plants can comply with all the rules and they’ll be able to operate for decades to come. So we’re taking that step right now to make sure that they will comply and they will run and make sure it’s a low cost option for our customers to get power. So what we’re doing is looking at the middle, the tier two units that we referred (inaudible). We’re trying to find a lower cost solution (inaudible). We can’t economically afford the expense of the big controls that are going on in some of our large units, but we’re spending a lot of time making sure that there are options out there, affordable options to make those plants run.
But we’ve also added wind to our portfolio. We’re adding gas to our portfolio. We realize that we need a balanced generation mix in order to survive these environmental rules and again some of these rules we don’t even know them at this point. But our balanced generating portfolio will allow us to really comply with the rules and we started taking action a few years ago and you see as we progress with our strategic plan there’s more actions that we’ll be taking down the road. But we knew we could not do it all in a couple of years. So this is a staged process that we have to deal with those. Does that answer your question? Thank you. Question over here at number one?
Eileen Gibbs – Shareholder
I’m Eileen Gibbs from Miramar, Wisconsin and I am a stockholder. What my question would be is, being a stockholder, would you consider giving us a rebate when the natural gas cars come in? Would you give the stockholders (inaudible) or rebate on buying one of these cars and also hooking up into our own garage so it can fill up in my garage versus down the road at the gas station which will definitely help Alliant Energy.
Patricia L. Kampling
That’s way ahead of your time here. That’s a great question and that’s something the industry is trying to deal with right now exactly how going back to natural gas cars, is that really the future and there’s a lot of people that think that might be the future. One thing I don’t know about a rebate to shareowners, but one thing that we would definitely consider work with our energy efficiency groups here because we usually get rebates through our energy efficiency programs. So if this is actually something that is going to catch on here in Wisconsin and I personally hope it does, then we’ll be working to make sure that there’s rebates available through the programs that we fund anyway. So we’ll make sure that that’s on our list though and we’re just at the beginning of trying to figure out how big gas is going to be for uses other than heating homes right now and using it in power plants. Very good question. Thank you. I have a question here at number two.
Yes. I’d like to know why we don’t have more PV generated electricity on the system. It seems to me that PV is a good peaker or at least it takes the place of a peaker and would cut back on our gas consumption. Also I’d like to know why we can’t reinstitute the program that would enable our customers to put more PV on their roofs. I have a daughter that has a $0.25 per kilowatt hour contract and 2.8 kilowatts peak on her roof and she generates more electricity than she uses. I have another follow on. Let’s take that one at this point.
Patricia L. Kampling
Sure. When you’ve got renewable standards, especially here in Wisconsin, it was more affordable for us to put wind as opposed to doing PV and again PV is very good and we’re very supportive of it. But the lowest cost for our customer was to really install wind. Going to your daughter and I’m very happy that your daughter was able to take advantage of that program, it was a very limited program and the way these programs work is that we work with our regulators and they give us an allowance of how much we can actually put in these different buckets of programs. That PV program was a very, very attractive program and your daughter must have gotten into it at the very front end of it because it did close very quickly.
But that money is all used up and on the latest rate cases that we’ve had here in Wisconsin, our allowance hasn’t been increased at all. So we’re really maxed out on that program. That’s something we work with our regulators on, but quite frankly what’s happening is the other customers are subsidizing that. So that’s why our regulators are very careful about how large those programs get because the other companies subsidize those. You have a follow up?
Yes. In regard to then on your long lines going out to the consumer where you have distributed energy problem, it would seem to me that PV would be a good solution with small, not small in size but small say five or six or seven large mills in conjunction with the distribution system that’s slightly in trouble that is going to be facing rebuild because of load factors. Would you consider adding wind and PV to that situation to alleviate the problem?
Patricia L. Kampling
In that situation of course you would consider it. That would always be one of the options that we’d look at. As I can see it right now I can’t think of a circumstance in our service territory where that would apply, but that is something that our team as they go out looking at reliability projects, that would be on their list of things that they would consider.
It would seem to me that that would be cheaper than putting these big wind farms and oil loading our high voltage distribution system which require very expensive rigs.
Patricia L. Kampling
Again (inaudible) circumstance where (inaudible) is cheaper than the mass plants that we build. When we’re building the larger plants you get really economies of scale. But that is something that I would make sure our distribution people do look at and we do have opportunities because other utilities are doing that in certain areas. They are finding that that’s a cheaper option and that’s something I’ll make sure our folks do look at.
What is our intention?
Patricia L. Kampling
Right now our intention, I don’t see where we have as part of our plan that solution applies to us right now. It might apply to us in a couple of years. I just don’t see that that applies to us right now though. I have a question here at number one.
Joan Sawyer – Shareholder
Hi, I just have an observation. I’m Joan Sawyer. We’re from Sequim, Washington and we are shareholders. My eyesight has always been pretty good, but I see when we get home we’re going to have to have it checked because on your executive business people I saw no females and it’s just an observation. Thank you.
Patricia L. Kampling
A very good observation and it’s very visible and it’s something that I wish was different and it’s not. I’m very proud of our executive team right now. The lack of gender diversity is not where we want it to be and I respect your observation. Thank you. Any more questions? Thank you and as I close the meeting today, I invite you to stay and join me for refreshments. We thank you for coming today and appreciate your continued interest and support. I do want to thank the staff here at the Alliant Energy center. It’s a great place to gather and they always take very good care of us. And a special thanks goes to retirees and employees who graciously volunteer their time at the meeting today. Thank you for attending and please travel home safely.
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