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PIEDMONT REPORTS FIRST QUARTER RESULTS DIVIDEND INCREASED FOR FOURTEENTH YEAR

 PIEDMONT REPORTS FIRST QUARTER RESULTS
 DIVIDEND INCREASED FOR FOURTEENTH YEAR
 CHARLOTTE, N.C., FEB. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- At its meeting of shareholders held here today, Piedmont Natural Gas Company (NYSE: PNY) reported financial results for its first quarter and twelve-month periods ended Jan. 31, 1992. The Charlotte-based natural gas and propane distributor reported first quarter earnings per share that were 24 percent higher than for the same period a year earlier. The quarterly increase was achieved in a period during which the weather was 7 percent colder than in the year-earlier period, although 11 percent warmer than normal.
 General rate increases for natural gas service totaling $18 million that were granted in 1991 by the regulatory commissions in the three states served by the Company materially affected quarterly earnings. These increases will be fully in effect for the 1992 fiscal year. Granted were a $9.7 million increase in North Carolina effective July 1991, a $5.2 million increase in Tennessee effective September 1991, and a $2.7 million increase in South Carolina effective November 1991.
 A second factor in producing increased earnings was the number of new customers added by the Company during the year. "Our Company's long-term growth prospects continue to be excellent," said company Chairman and President John H. Maxheim. The Company added 25,000 new residential and commercial natural gas customers and over 6,000 new propane customers in fiscal 1991, a natural gas utility growth rate four times the industry average. "In 1992, we expect to again experience a customer growth rate that far exceeds the national average for natural gas distribution companies."
 The Weather Normalization Adjustment (WNA) formulas approved by the regulatory commissions in North Carolina and Tennessee and initiated in November 1991 also assisted in partially offsetting abnormally warm weather during the period. A WNA was also approved in South Carolina to become effective in December 1992.
 Shareholders re-elected four Directors to three-year terms expiring in 1995 -- John C. Bolinger, Jr., John H. Maxheim, Walter S. Montgomery, Jr., and Donald S. Russell, Jr. C.M. Butler III was elected a Director to fill the vacancy in a term expiring in 1994 created by the death of Stanley N. Ausbrooks in 1991. Immediately following the shareholders' meeting, the Company's Board of Directors re-elected all officers of the Company.
 Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc., is an energy and services company primarily engaged in the transportation and sale of natural gas to over 440,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Company and its non-utility subsidiaries are also engaged in acquiring, marketing and arranging for the transportation of natural gas to large volume purchasers, in retailing residential and commercial gas appliances and in the sale of propane to over 36,800 customers in the Company's three-state area.
 Summary of Operations
 Three Months Ended January 31 1992 1991
 Margin
 (Revenues Less Cost of Gas) $ 75,485,000 $ 62,009,000
 Net Income $ 24,471,000 $ 17,162,000
 Operating Revenues(A) $ 172,861,000 $ 155,981,000
 Weighted Average
 Shares Outstanding:
 Primary 12,384,000 10,749,000
 Fully Diluted 12,566,000 11,131,000
 Earnings Per Share
 of Common Stock:
 Primary $1.98 $1.60
 Fully Diluted $1.95 $1.55
 Gas Delivered - Dekatherms 37,819,000 34,499,000
 Percent Normal Degree Days 89 percent 82 percent
 Twelve Months Ended January 31 1992 1991
 Margin
 (Revenues less Cost of Gas) $183,723,000 $161,240,000
 Net Income $ 27,861,000 $ 19,493,000
 Operating Revenues(A) $428,427,000 $393,495,000
 Weighted Average
 Shares Outstanding:
 Primary 12,053,000 10,642,000
 Fully Diluted 12,263,000 11,071,000
 Earnings Per Share
 of Common Stock:
 Primary $2.31 $1.83
 Fully Diluted $2.29 $1.80
 Gas Delivered - Dekatherms 108,182,000 101,789,000
 Percent Normal Degree Days 84 percent 80 percent
 DIVIDEND INCREASED
 At the meeting of the Board of Directors held immediately following the Annual Meeting of Shareholders, the Board declared a quarterly dividend on Common Stock of 46 cents per share, a 4.5 percent increase over the 44 cents paid the prior quarter. The dividend is payable April 15, 1992, to holders of record at the close of business on March 25, 1992. This marks the fourteenth consecutive year that the Company has declared a dividend increase.
 (A) The period-to-period comparison of increases or decreases in operating revenues has not been a valid or reliable indication of the Company's operations since 1986. Since then, changes in Federal and state regulations have allowed the Company to transport gas volumes purchased directly from producers by large industrial customers. In general, the margin earned on gas transported is equal to the margin earned on gas sold; however, transportation which replaces sales results in lower revenues since transportation rates exclude the commodity cost of gas which is paid by the customer directly to the supplier. Therefore, gas volumes delivered, margin earned, net income and earnings per share should be used to compare period-to-period operating results of the Company.
 -0- 2/28/92
 /CONTACT: Stephen D. Conner, Piedmont Natural Gas Company, 704-364-3486, ext. 205, office, or 704-364-0526, home/
 (PNY) CO: Piedmont Natural Gas Company ST: North Carolina IN: UTI SU: ERN DIV


DF-JZ -- CH005 -- 3709 02/28/92 12:16 EST
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Date:Feb 28, 1992
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