Energy provider Dominion Resources Inc. said Thursday its first-quarter profit rose 3 percent as lower operations and maintenance expenses offset declines in electricity use due to warmer-than-normal weather.
The Richmond, Va.-based company said it earned $494 million, or 86 cents per share, for the period ended March 31, up from $479 million, or 82 cents per share, a year ago.
Dominion said its operating earnings fell 10 percent to $487 million, or 85 cents per share. It uses operating earnings that exclude certain items as the main way to measure its performance.
Revenue fell about 14 percent to $3.49 billion.
Analysts expected earnings of 88 cents per share on revenue of $3.4 billion.
Dominion's core businesses continued to deliver strong results despite the effects of the "warmest first quarter weather in more than 100 years in our electric service territory," CEO Thomas F. Farrell II said in a news release. "We maintain our focus on meeting the growing infrastructure needs of customers in the energy markets we serve and are very pleased with the progress being made on projects in our infrastructure growth plan."
Dominion said the 585-megawatt Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County is nearing completion and is on schedule to start operating by the middle of the year. Construction is proceeding for its 1,300-megawatt gas-fired combined cycle plant in Warren County and is on schedule to start operating in late 2014.
The company also expects to file a request with Virginia regulators later this year to build a 1,300-megawatt gas-fired combined cycle plant in Brunswick County.
Dominion also said construction is on track the Appalachian Gateway pipeline between West Virginia and Pennsylvania, which is expected to be in service by September. Two other projects serving the Marcellus and Utica shale regions also are expected to be in service by the end of the year.
The modernization project for Dominion Virginia Power's Mount Storm-to-Doubs transmission line, a 500-kilovolt line serving Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
The company said it expects to report second-quarter operating earnings of 55 cents to 65 cents per share. For all of 2012, the company expects operating earnings of $3.10 to $3.35 per share.
Dominion Resources is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy and has the nation's largest natural gas storage system. It serves retail customers in 15 states.
The company's stock rose 46 cents to $51.70 in early trading.
Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum.