Governance and Transparency
Despite Challenges, Duke Energy Achieves Financial Goals
A struggling economy may have dampened sales, but aggressive cost control and excellent power plant and other operational performance helped Duke Energy achieve strong financial results in 2009.
Our total shareholder return – the change in stock price plus dividends – was up 22 percent for the year, once again helping us outperform our peers. The Philadelphia Utility Index, which includes Duke Energy and 19 of its peers, saw only a 10 percent gain in total shareholder return in 2009. For the past three years, we have posted a positive total shareholder return of around 4 percent, while the utility index dropped nearly 5 percent.
Duke Energy paid a quarterly cash dividend on its common stock in 2009 – for the 83rd consecutive year. Even though our adjusted earnings have been essentially flat over the last three years, we grew our dividend an average of approximately 4 percent each year.
Our 2009 financial performance is noteworthy, given the impact of the economy on our electricity sales. Industrial sales volumes declined by approximately 14 percent year-over-year, on a weather-normalized basis. However, fourth-quarter 2009 industrial sales dropped less than 5 percent from the same period in the prior year, a pace of decline that was slower than earlier in 2009 as the economy showed signs of continued stabilization.
We were able to achieve solid 2009 results by exceeding our $150 million target for reducing operating and maintenance costs, and by improving the operational performance of our generation fleet.