WEC Energy benefits from warmer temperatures

Third quarter profit soars

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The air conditioning was at full blast for WEC Energy Group Inc. customers from July to September, as warmer-than-average temperatures drove the Milwaukee-based company’s earnings higher.

WEC Energy Group headquarters building
WEC Energy Group’s Milwaukee corporate headquarters.

WEC beat analysts’ per-share estimates by 8 cents, with third quarter net income of $217 million, or 68 cents per share. That’s up from $182.5 million, or 58 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2015.

WEC Energy Group was established on June 29, 2015, with Milwaukee-based WE Energies parent Wisconsin Energy Corp.’s $9.1 billion acquisition of Chicago-based Integrys Energy Group. It is the eighth largest natural gas distributor in the U.S., with 4.4 million electric and natural gas customers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.

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“Our results reflect the positive impact from the Integrys acquisition and warmer-than-normal weather in the third quarter,” said Allen Leverett, president and chief executive officer. “This was the second-warmest third quarter in southeastern Wisconsin in the past 84 years.”

Operating income was $399 million in the third quarter, up from $345.7 million a year ago.

Revenue for the combined firm was $1.7 billion in the third quarter, flat from 2015. It fell short of analyst predictions, which pegged sales at $2.2 billion.

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Over the 12 months ending in September, WEC’s utilities added about 38,000 customers. The Wisconsin utilities alone added 7,000 more electric customers and almost 13,000 natural gas customers year-over-year.

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