Duke Energy earned more than $600 million in its second quarter this year, 80 percent more than last year.
Duke reported relatively weak earnings this time last year—it was right in the middle of the largest power company merger in U.S. history. Now, the company is reaping the benefits, reporting lower costs for personnel, maintenance, and fuel due to the merger.
But those were not the main reason for the strong report, chief financial officer Steve Young told analysts.
“To date, we have benefited from revised rates in the regulated businesses, favorable weather, solid growth and sales volumes, and favorable impacts of tax rates,” Young said.
Favorable weather translates to a hot few months and a lot of air conditioning. Duke won approval for higher rates in a series of cases in front of the North Carolina utilities commission last year, among others. For the second straight quarter, those higher rates accounted for the largest share of growth in profits.
Duke’s stock rose 78 cents, closing at $70.60.