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CMS Energy Net Income Jumps On Colder Weather

JACKSON -- CMS Energy Thursday reported first quarter net income of $144 million, or 53 cents a share, more than double reported net income of $67 million, or 25 cents a share, for the same quarter of 2012. 

Adjusted net income for the first quarter of 2012 was $97 million, or 37 cents a share. Adjusted income excludes discontinued operations, restructuring costs and the effect of court orders.

Revenue was $1.98 billion for the quarter, up from $1.74 bllion a year earlier.

CMS reaffirmed its guidance for 2013 adjusted earnings of $1.63 to $1.66 a share, consistent with the company's long-term plan of 5 percent to 7 percent annual earnings per share growth. The company's reported earnings could vary from adjusted earnings because of several factors, such as legacy issues associated with prior asset sales and regulatory items from prior years. Because of those uncertainties, the company isn't providing reported earnings guidance.

The company's first quarter results reflect the effects of colder-than-normal weather, which sharply increased natural gas deliveries, compared to much warmer first quarter weather in 2012.

The company also reported that it recently received credit rating upgrades from Moody's and Standard & Poor's for CMS Energy and Consumers Energy. This action moved CMS Energy's long-term debt rating to investment grade for the first time in company history.

John Russell, CMS Energy's president and CEO, said CMS Energy's principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy, is helping to create jobs in Michigan through its plans to invest about $7 billion in its operations through 2017. 

"Working with the State of Michigan, we're helping to create jobs by investing in renewable energy, environmental quality, energy efficiency, energy reliability and our natural gas and electric infrastructure," Russell said. "We're seeing improvements in Michigan's economy and we're pleased that our investments are having a positive impact.  At the same time, we continue to work hard to hold down our operating costs while creating customer value." 

Russell noted Consumers Energy's leadership participation in Pure Michigan Business Connect, an initiative developed by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The company has signed $600 million in multi-year contracts with other Michigan businesses as part of its commitment. These contracts are in addition to the $2.4 billion a year that Consumers Energy now spends with Michigan companies.

Russell said the company is reducing its operating costs through previous initiatives on workforce restructuring and benefit plans, and ongoing productivity improvements. He noted the company's long-term plan calls for holding average base rate increases for its 2.9 million customers at or below the rate of inflation for the next five years.

"We're constantly looking for ways to ensure the safety, reliability and affordability of service to customers," Russell said. The company recently reduced natural gas fuel prices by about 15 percent, to the lowest level in a decade. This allows the company, as part of its long-term plan, to increase investments to strengthen and expand its natural gas system. The company plans to invest $160 million over the next five years on new gas customers who elect to switch from other fuel sources.

CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS) is a Michigan-based company that has an electric and natural gas utility, Consumers Energy, as its primary business and also owns and operates independent power generation businesses.

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