Enduring the tough economic climate that all utilities have faced over the last year, Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) was a bright spot on Thursday as the Newark, NJ-based electricity and natural gas distributor and electricity generator reported income from continuing operations for 4Q2009 of $349 million (69 cents/share), up 47% from the $237 million (46 cents/share) that the company posted in 4Q2008.

For the year, PSEG reported income from continuing operations and net income for 2009 of $1.59 billion or $3.14 per share, up 62% compared to the $983 million, or $1.93 per share, the company posted in 2008. Full-year 2008 earnings were weighted down by write-downs. Including income from discontinued operations, PSEG’s net income for 2008 was $1,188 million, or $2.34 per share.

“PSEG reported strong earnings in the face of very challenging market conditions,” said CEO Ralph Izzo. Clearly, our 2009 results demonstrate the importance of a balanced portfolio of assets. The dispatch flexibility of our PJM portfolio of generating assets was ably demonstrated over the past year.”

PSEG Power, the parent company’s supplier of electric energy in the constrained Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets, reported operating earnings of $242 million (47 cents/share) for 4Q2009, bringing full year operating earnings to $1.21 billion ($2.38/share), a record year for the segment. On a comparative basis, PSEG Power reported operating earnings of $246 million (49 cents/share) and $1.17 billion ($2.30/share) for the fourth quarter and full year 2008, respectively.

Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), the regulated public utility company engaged in the transmission and distribution of gas and electricity to 2.1 million electric and 1.7 million gas customers in New Jersey, reported operating earnings of $68 million (13 cents/share) for 4Q2009 compared with operating earnings of $76 million (15 cents/share) for 4Q2008. The results brought PSE&G’s operating earnings for 2009 to $321 million (63 cents/share) as compared with 2008 results of $360 million (71 cents/share).

Looking ahead, Izzo indicated that PSEG was providing operating earnings guidance for 2010 of $3.00-$3.25 per share. “Although economic conditions remain challenging, cost reduction programs implemented throughout the organization — including support from our union membership — should help us achieve our earnings objectives.” Izzo added that the company is aiming to increase its capital investment in energy infrastructure in 2010.

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