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News release details

News release details

Klappa cites milestones in reliability, customer satisfaction, safety performance in annual meeting review of 2014 highlights

May 7, 2015
Also notes stronger earnings, exceptional shareholder returns

MILWAUKEE, May 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- At Wisconsin Energy's (NYSE: WEC) annual meeting of stockholders today, Chairman and Chief Executive Gale Klappa described 2014 as "an eventful and transformative year," pointing to significant achievements in financial performance, customer satisfaction, employee safety, network reliability – and the company's proposed acquisition of Integrys Energy Group.

Klappa cited the following 2014 highlights:

Customer satisfaction

  • We Energies was ranked number one in the Midwest for customer service, as well as power quality and reliability, in the J.D. Power and Associates 2014 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study.
  • We Energies also was named the most reliable utility in the Midwest for the fourth year in a row by an independent consulting firm.

Company performance

  • Achieved the safest year of operation in company history – an improvement of more than 80 percent in recordable incidents and 74 percent in lost-time accidents since 2003.
  • Cited by Forbes as "America's Best-Managed Utility."
  • Named for the seventh consecutive year as one of the nation's 100 best corporate citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. The publication evaluates approximately 1,000 publicly held companies on the basis of environmental performance, employee relations, philanthropy, finance, and governance practices.

Earnings and financial strength

  • The highest net income and earnings per share in company history.
  • Adjusted earnings of $2.65 per share – a 5.6 percent increase over the $2.51 per share recorded in 2013. This excludes 6 cents a share for costs related to the acquisition of Integrys.

Shareholder return

  • Wisconsin Energy's total return to shareholders has significantly outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, NASDAQ, the S&P Electric Index, and the Philadelphia Utility Index over the past 10 years. Wisconsin Energy's total shareholder return, assuming reinvested dividends, was 67 percent over three years, 149.9 percent over five years, and 317.9 percent over 10 years.
  • Through dividends and share buybacks, the company returned more than $370 million of cash to shareholders last year – making 2014 the second-highest 'cash return year' in company history.

Dividend growth

  • Raised the dividend in January 2015 by 8.3 percent to an annual rate of $1.69 per share.
  • Klappa said the company is targeting a dividend payout ratio of 65 to 70 percent of earnings in 2017 – a level more competitive with its peers in the regulated utility sector.

Infrastructure improvements

  • Klappa reiterated the company's plan to invest $3.3 billion to $3.5 billion from 2015 through 2019 to modernize the company's electric and natural gas distribution networks, meet changing environmental standards, and reduce operating costs for customers.
  • Between 2000 and 2014, the company's power plant capacity increased by 50 percent, while systemwide emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury, and particulate matter decreased by 80 percent.
  • Construction is underway on a new powerhouse for the company's Twin Falls hydroelectric plant on the Menominee River between Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The powerhouse is scheduled for completion in 2016 at an expected cost of $60 million to $65 million.

Integrys acquisition
Klappa concluded the meeting with an overview of Wisconsin Energy's plans to acquire Integrys in a transaction valued at $9.1 billion

Regulatory approvals for the acquisition have progressed as follows:

  • All federal approvals are complete.
  • The Michigan commission issued its approval on April 23.
  • The Wisconsin commission voted to approve the transaction on April 30; a final written order is expected by the end of May.
  • In Minnesota, the commission is expected to review the application in May.
  • The schedule for the Illinois commission calls for a decision no later than July 6.

The company expects to close the transaction by the end of this summer, forming the WEC Energy Group.  Current senior officers of Wisconsin Energy will assume leadership roles in the combined company, and the board of directors will expand to include three members from the current Integrys board.  The WEC Energy Group will be the leading electric and natural gas utility in the Midwest, serving 4.4 million customers in four states.

Stockholder actions
During the meeting, stockholders elected the following directors to terms expiring at the 2016 annual meeting:  John F. Bergstrom, Barbara L. Bowles, Patricia W. Chadwick, Curt S. Culver, Thomas J. Fischer, Gale E. Klappa, Henry W. Knueppel, Ulice Payne, Jr., and Mary Ellen Stanek

As recommended by the board of directors, stockholders also voted to:

  • Ratify Deloitte & Touche LLP as independent auditors for 2015.
  • Approve the compensation of the company's named executive officers (say-on-pay).

Earnings per share listed in this news release are on a fully diluted basis.

Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE: WEC), based in Milwaukee, is one of the nation's premier energy companies, serving more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and 1.1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin.  The company's principal utility is We Energies.  The company's other major subsidiary, We Power, designs, builds and owns electric generating plants.

Wisconsin Energy (, a component of the S&P 500, has nearly $15 billion of assets, 4,300 employees and approximately 40,000 stockholders of record.

Forward-looking statements
Certain statements contained in this press release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  These statements are based upon management's current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the statements.  Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these statements. 

Forward-looking statements include future earnings per share, dividend payout ratios and dividend payments, construction costs and capital expenditures, investments in infrastructure projects, and information about our acquisition of Integrys Energy Group. Do not place undue reliance on this information. It is not a guarantee of future performance and actual results may differ materially. Factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially include: general economic conditions; timing, resolution and impact of future rate cases and other regulatory decisions; availability of the company's generating facilities; in fuel and purchased power costs and transportation availability, and the ability to recover these costs; varying weather conditions; construction risks; the timing, receipt and terms and conditions of any required governmental and regulatory approvals of  our proposed acquisition of Integrys; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings or inquiries; restructuring initiatives in the energy industry, including retail choice and industry consolidation; equity and bond market fluctuations and our ability to access the capital markets; cyber-security threats and disruptions to the company's technology network; performance of the company's pension and other post-retirement benefit plans; financial performance of American Transmission Company (ATC); impact of recent and future federal, state and local legislative and regulatory changes; and other factors described in Wisconsin Energy's 2014 Annual Report on Form 10-K and in subsequent reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company expressly disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


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SOURCE Wisconsin Energy Corporation

Brian Manthey (news media), 414-221-4444 or Colleen F. Henderson, CFA (analysts), 414-221-2592,