Warm weather cools down Chesapeake's earnings

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    Dover-based Chesapeake Utilities reported net income of $10.7 million, down $3 million from a year earlier as warmer temperatures took a bite out of demand. 

    Heating degree days were down 23 percent on the Delmarva Peninsula and 36 percent in Florida, reducing demand.

    “Earnings from all of our energy operations in the first quarter of 2012 reflected the impact of the warmest first quarter in the past 10 years. Despite this quarter’s weather challenge, our businesses made significant progress in pursuing their long-term strategic initiatives,” stated Michael P. McMasters, CEO. “Growth generated by expansion of natural gas service, thanks to the focused efforts of our employees, continues to create value for our shareholders and customers. Since the beginning of 2011, we have added 12 large commercial and industrial natural gas customers on the Delmarva Peninsula, requiring expansion of our natural gas distribution and transmission systems that increase our earnings and enable future growth. In the latter half of this year, we expect to begin natural gas service in Worcester and Cecil Counties in Maryland. Our Florida team has been identifying opportunities to bring natural gas to new territories and I am pleased to announce that in April, we began natural gas service in Nassau County. Our unregulated businesses are also pursuing opportunities to grow their businesses through new customers, products and services. I am confident that these initiatives, coupled with other opportunities we identify during the year, will generate additional growth in 2012 and beyond.”

    The income decrease was partially offset by growth in the natural gas distribution and transmission operations.

    In addition to natural gas and propane operations on Delmarva and in Florida, Chesapeake also owns Florida Public Utilities, which operates a small electric utility.

    Information about Chesapeake’s businesses is available at www.chpk.com .

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