Sierra Pacific third-quarter earnings dip slightly

Sierra Pacific Resources, the holding company for two electric utilities in Nevada, reported third-quarter net income slipped slightly and revenues declined 7 percent as the state struggles with an economic slump.

The company earned $150.8 million in the third quarter, down from $152.2 million a year ago. Earnings per share dipped to 24 cents from 69 cents. Earnings per share were 1 cent better than the First Call consensus of analysts.

Operating revenues, however, fell to $1.12 billion from $1.2 billion last year, and the consensus of analysts expected $1.27 billion in revenue.

"The current economic downturn has impacted our operations somewhat, but our state continues to grow," Chief executive Michael Yackira said in a statement. "Major resort projects are scheduled to come on line in Southern Nevada over the next two years."

The number of customers continues to increase. Residential customers in Southern Nevada increased by 0.9 percent while the number of commercial customers grew by 2.9 percent and industrial by 3.9 percent during the first nine months of 2008. In Northern Nevada, the residential customers rose by 0.7 percent while commercial useage climbed 2 percent and industrial 4.5 percent.

The company’s utility subsidiaries do business as NV Energy, but the holding company continued to break out results for Nevada Power Co. of Las Vegas and Sierra Pacific Power Co. of Reno.

Nevada Power reported third-quarter net income of $124.3 million, compared with $133 million last year. Net income for Sierra Pacific Power rose to $33 million from $25.5 million.

Nevada Power revenues decreased 7.5 percent to $826 million. Gross margin declined 3.3 percent to $347.7 million.

Sierra Pacific Power reported $291.3 million in revenue, including $19.4 million from natural gas sales and electric sales. That represents a 6.5 percent drop.

Shares in the holding company gained 63 cents or 7.6 percent and closed at $8.92 on the New York Stock Exchange Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact reporter John G. Edwards at or 702-383-0420.

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