In 2019, Duke Energy achieved adjusted earnings per share of $5.06, delivering 7 percent growth for the year. It was a strong year for Duke Energy – the company met its commitments to customers, advanced its long-term strategy and exceeded growth expectations.
Our electric, gas and commercial renewables businesses all experienced growth in 2019, which was helped by base rate increases in the Carolinas and Florida, customer growth in our gas businesses and new renewables projects placed in service.
In 2019, the company issued $2 billion in preferred stock and priced $2.5 billion in equity. These proactive steps strengthened the balance sheet, paving the way for a substantial increase in our five-year capital plan, significantly increasing the earnings potential of the company to the benefit of our communities and shareholders.
Given 2019 results and our revised capital plan, the company announced on February 13, 2020 its 2020 adjusted earnings per share guidance range of $5.05 to $5.45, with a midpoint of $5.25 per share – and extended its long-term growth rate of 4 to 6 percent through 2024.
Duke Energy remains committed to offering an attractive, long-term value proposition to its shareholders. 2020 marks the company’s 94th consecutive year paying a dividend to its investors, and Duke Energy grew the dividend 2 percent in 2019. The company’s dividend yield continues to be one of the highest in the industry.
Duke Energy completed two green bond issuances – one for Duke Energy Progress and another for Duke Energy Florida, bringing total green bond issuances to $2.3 billion across the company. The funds will finance eligible green energy projects – including zero-carbon solar and energy storage.
Duke Energy’s total shareholder return – measured as the change in stock price plus the reinvestment of dividends – for 2019 was 10.3 percent. The company is proud of the returns it is delivering to investors but also recognizes this lagged peer utilities.
Despite providing investors with clarity around key issues in 2019 – such as balance sheet strength and coal ash basin closure progress – Duke Energy’s total shareholder return was not as strong as many peer utilities due to uncertainties around coal ash closure cost recovery in the Carolinas and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. We expect to achieve more clarity on these uncertainties in 2020 and 2021.
Looking longer term, Duke Energy is confident in its underlying business fundamentals and strategy, which are underpinned by the outstanding communities we serve. We are focused on delivering strong, long-term returns for our shareholders and providing industry-leading service to our customers for years to come.