Duke Energy Corp., the largest power provider in the United States, reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday, citing weak electricity demand.
The company, which uses coal, natural gas and nuclear plants to generate electricity, has had weak power sales since the 2008 recession as the housing market struggles to recover and consumer remain reluctant to increase their spending.
Demand from commercial customers was especially weak, Duke said.
For the first quarter, the company posted a profit of $634 million, or 89 cents per share, compared with $295 million, or 65 cents per share, a year earlier.
Duke bought Progress Energy last summer for $18 billion, a deal that sharply increased its size.
Adjusting for the transaction, Duke said it earned $1.02 per share, compared with $1.13 a year earlier.
By that measure, analysts expected earnings of $1.04 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Duke said it still expected to earn $4.20 to $4.45 per share this year, the midpoint of which roughly matches the $4.33 that analysts expect.
The company is seeking rate increases of 9.7 percent in North Carolina and 5.1 percent in Ohio. Both increases are controversial within the states.
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