Piedmont Natural Gas reported a seasonal loss of $4.6 million or 6 cents a share for its third quarter Friday, a 47 percent improvement from the $8.7 million loss in the same period last year.
The $161 million in revenues for the quarter were down 18 percent but the cost of gas fell 35 percent. Utility margin revenue minus the cost of purchased gas rose 5 percent.
Piedmont attributed the margin increase to residential and commercial customer growth, higher rates in Tennessee and more sales to power generators.
For the nine months that ended July 31, Piedmont reported net income of $121.8 million or $1.69 a share, compared to $123.1 million and $1.70 share last year.
Piedmont reaffirmed its 2012 earnings guidance of $1.58 to $1.68 a share.