Energy provider Dominion Resources Inc. said Friday that lower margins and higher costs, along with loss of revenue from its gas exploration business, drove its net income down about 3 percent in the third quarter.
The Richmond company said it earned $575 million, or 98 cents per share, for the period ended Sept. 30. That's down from $594 million, or $1.00 per share, a year ago.
But Dominion said its operating earnings grew more than 2 percent to $603 million, or $1.03 per share, during the period. It uses operating earnings that exclude certain items as its primary performance measurement.
Revenue grew nearly 9 percent to $3.95 billion from $3.63 billion on higher weather-related demand that were offset by higher storm damage and restoration costs.
Dominion sold its Appalachian natural gas and oil exploration and production business to Consol Energy in April. Because of that, Dominion didn't have any revenue this quarter from that business, as it did in the year-ago period.
Dominion also provided updates on several projects, including plans to slow development of a third nuclear reactor at its North Anna Power Station in Louisa County.
"We have concluded that the capital required for other new generation, pending environmental compliance and electric transmission upgrades, requires us to slow development," CEO Thomas F. Farrell II said in a conference call with investors.
Dominion said it will continue to work toward getting its combined operating license from federal regulators, which it expects to obtain by 2013. Other engineering and site work for the project will continue.
The company said the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center is about 75 percent complete and scheduled for operation in mid-2012. The Bear Garden Power Station is about 85 percent complete and is on schedule for operations by next summer. Work continues on its electric transmission line projects.
It also plans to file for approval with state regulators next year for a facility in Warren County.
Dominion produces electricity, natural gas and oil and has the nation's largest natural gas storage system. It operates in 14 states and serves retail customers in a dozen states.
In afternoon trading, shares of the company lose 44 cents to $43.51.