Vectren CEO Says Natural Gas Prices Good News for Customers, Electric Environmental Investments Paying Off; Mays Retires From Vectren Board
EVANSVILLE, IN -- (Marketwire) -- 05/16/12 -- Speaking at Wednesday's annual Vectren Corporation (NYSE: VVC) shareholders' meeting, Chairman, President and CEO Carl Chapman outlined the company's short-term strategy to grow its utility and nonutility businesses in addition to highlighting industry trends and changes that are benefitting natural gas customers today and electric customers for the long-term. Chapman also recognized long-time Board of Directors member William (Bill) Mays who officially retired from the board today after serving nearly 15 years in the role, including his tenure with a Vectren (VVC) predecessor company.
For its natural gas utilities, Chapman emphasized the low-priced, stable natural gas market and how these prices, combined with Vectren's energy efficiency programs, have helped reduce natural gas bill amounts to 10-year lows.
"The nation's emergence of shale gas has spurred natural gas supplies to levels not seen since 1971," said Chapman. "This abundant supply has helped ease prices, and accordingly, bill amounts. Furthermore, prices are expected to remain low for several years, if not decades, which bodes well for our nearly 1 million gas customers and for growth opportunities for our three natural gas utilities."
Further aiding lower bills is the success of Vectren's natural gas conservation programs, known as Conservation Connection, that through their first five years have helped customers conserve enough natural gas to heat 37,000 homes for a year.
Chapman also discussed the positive outlook of Vectren's electric utility in emphasizing its ability to serve customers for decades to come because of its favorable position to readily comply with more stringent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air regulations governing its electric generating units with no new, significant capital investments.
"We made the decision several years ago to make $410 million in emissions control investments at our power plants to improve the air quality for southwestern Indiana, and as such, our customers' rates have increased to reflect these costs," added Chapman. "However, we find ourselves in a position to more readily comply, while other regional utilities have already announced they will proceed with significant expenditures to meet EPA demands, which will increase customer bills, while others plan to retire some uncontrolled coal generation units."
The early success of Vectren's electric energy efficiency programs, which have helped customers save enough electricity to power 2,500 homes for a year, will further help preserve Vectren's electric generation fleet and significantly delay the need for new, more-costly generating units in addition to helping customers manage costs.
In highlighting nonutility growth opportunities, Chapman focused heavily on Vectren's Infrastructure Services businesses, Miller Pipeline and Minnesota Limited, which continue to drive nonutility earnings and are well-positioned for growth.
"Given our nation's growing need to address aging underground infrastructure, including gas, oil, water and wastewater pipelines, our Infrastructure Services businesses, which are licensed in 40 states, are primed to bid on a growing number of projects," said Chapman. "Furthermore, the country's shale gas and oil boom opens the door to additional pipeline construction opportunities to help meet the nation's needs for additional pipelines to gather and transport these new sources of natural gas and oil throughout the nation."
In honoring retiring Board member, Bills Mays, Chairman and CEO of Mays Chemical Co., Inc, Chapman said, "Bill's leadership has helped shape Vectren's strategic direction and ultimate success. We very much value the many years of dedicated service and counsel he has provided our management and our board. We extend our sincere gratitude and best wishes in his retirement."
Finally, Chapman urged shareholders to be prepared to get involved in Defend My Dividend efforts later this fall, a grassroots initiative to urge Congressional leaders to ensure the current tax rate cap on dividend income remains. Unless Congress acts, the dividend tax rate of 15 percent is set to expire at the end of 2012. Learn more about this initiative at www.defendmydividend.com.
Vectren Corporation (NYSE: VVC) is an energy holding company headquartered in Evansville, Ind. Vectren's energy delivery subsidiaries provide gas and/or electricity to more than 1 million customers in adjoining service territories that cover nearly two-thirds of Indiana and west central Ohio. Vectren's nonutility subsidiaries and affiliates currently offer energy-related products and services to customers throughout the U.S. These include infrastructure services, energy services, coal mining and energy marketing. To learn more about Vectren, visit www.vectren.com.
Media contact: Chase Kelley (812) 491-4128 firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Vectren Corporation