First-quarter 2020 results of the Zacks Utility sector players are expected to increase 3.5% year over year despite a 0.4% decline in revenues. Our latest Earnings Preview has more details about the 16 Zacks sectors including utilities.
Factors to Consider in Q1
Regulated domestic-focused utilities provide services to millions of Americans and invest regularly to strengthen their existing infrastructure to support demand from an expanding customer base. The implementation of the newly-approved rates by utilities during the first quarter to recoup investments will get reflected in the quarterly results. In addition, the cost-cutting initiatives are also likely to have played a part.
The milder winter weather conditions in the United States during the first quarter adversely impacted demand for utility services, which will again get reflected in the quarterly results of some of the utilities.
To offset any potential financial hardship that the COVID-19 pandemic may have on millions of utility customers, majority of the utilities during the first quarter decided to temporarily suspend service disconnections in the event of non-payment of dues. This humanitarian gesture will get reflected in first-quarter results.
The spread of coronavirus during the first quarter is likely to have impacted utility companies’ sales to commercial and industrial (C&I) customers. However, utilities generate a substantial portion of regulated electric and gas revenues from residential customers. Due to extended stay-at-home directives, increase in residential demand is likely to have offset decline in demand from C&I customers in the first quarter.
The outbreak and resultant economic crisis forced the Federal Reserve to lower its interest rate to near zero level, which actually created opportunity for utilities to refinance their existing debt and get new debts for their capital projects at a much cheaper rate.
These factors are expected to have shaped up the earnings results of utilities this time around.
Let's take a look at some Utility companies that are scheduled to report first-quarter earnings on May 7.
Consolidated Edison Inc. ED has an average positive earnings surprise of 1.15% for the last four quarters. During the first quarter, majority of Consolidated Edison’s service territories witnessed a favorable mix of weather conditions. Overall, the weather is likely to have boosted higher electricity demand, which, in turn, must have contributed to revenue growth in the quarter.
Per the Zacks model, the combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the chances of an earnings beat. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter
The company has an Earnings ESP of +0.35% and a Zacks Rank of 3. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
(Read more: What's in Store for Consolidated Edison in Q1 Earnings?)
Consolidated Edison Inc Price and EPS Surprise
Consolidated Edison Inc price-eps-surprise | Consolidated Edison Inc Quote
CenterPoint Energy Inc. CNP has an average positive earnings surprise of 13.29% for the trailing four quarters. The company’s major service territories experienced milder winter temperatures throughout the first quarter. This is likely to have marred its first-quarter revenues since warmer conditions imply lesser usage of heating appliances.
The Zacks Rank of 3 company’s Earnings ESP is 0.00%.
(Read more: What's in Store for CenterPoint Energy Q1 Earnings?)
CenterPoint Energy, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise
CenterPoint Energy, Inc. price-eps-surprise | CenterPoint Energy, Inc. Quote
NRG Energy NRG has an average negative earnings surprise of 10.12% for the last four quarters. The company provides energy and related services to residential, industrial and commercial customers. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, most people are staying back at home. The company’s first-quarter results are likely to reflect benefits from higher residential demand.
The company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank of 3.
(Read more: What's in the Cards for NRG Energy's Q1 Earnings?)
NRG Energy, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise
NRG Energy, Inc. price-eps-surprise | NRG Energy, Inc. Quote
Xcel Energy Inc. XEL has an average negative earnings surprise of 2.84% for the last four-quarter period. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the company’s first-quarter results are likely to reflect benefits from higher residential demand. The company generates significant portion of its revenues from residential usage of electric and natural gas, which can marginally offset the decline in demand from commercial and industrial customers.
The Zacks Rank of 3 company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%.
(Read more: What's in the Cards for Xcel Energy in Q1 Earnings?)
Xcel Energy Inc. Price and EPS Surprise
Xcel Energy Inc. price-eps-surprise | Xcel Energy Inc. Quote
Eversource Energy ES has an average positive earnings surprise of 2.42% for the last four quarters. The company’s first-quarter earnings are expected to have benefited from continued investment in the transmission system, and positive impacts of multi-year regulatory plans for electric and natural gas distribution businesses.
The company has an Earnings ESP of -0.49% and a Zacks Rank of 2.
(Read more: Eversource to Report Q1 Earnings: What's in the Offing?)
Eversource Energy Price and EPS Surprise
Eversource Energy price-eps-surprise | Eversource Energy Quote
The AES Corporation AES has an average positive earnings surprise of 3.92% for the trailing four quarters. In the first quarter, AES Corp’s service territories witnessed mixed weather patterns. While most of its service areas experienced warmer-than-normal temperature, a few witnessed heavy rainfall and moderate-to-heavy snowfall. We expect the company’s revenues in the soon-to-be-reported quarter to have been impacted by these factors.
The company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank of 2.
(Read more: AES Corp. to Report Q1 Earnings: What's in the Cards?)
The AES Corporation Price and EPS Surprise
The AES Corporation price-eps-surprise | The AES Corporation Quote
Alliant Energy Corporation LNT has an average negative earnings surprise of 6.52% for the last four quarters. The new wind assets of Alliant Energy that are placed in service during the first quarter are expected to have boosted earnings.
The company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank of 3.
(Read more: What's in the Cards for Alliant Energy’s in Q1 Earnings?)
Alliant Energy Corporation Price and EPS Surprise
Alliant Energy Corporation price-eps-surprise | Alliant Energy Corporation Quote
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