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PIEDMONT'S FOURTH QUARTER EARNINGS UP WARM WEATHER AFFECTS FISCAL YEAR

 PIEDMONT'S FOURTH QUARTER EARNINGS UP
 WARM WEATHER AFFECTS FISCAL YEAR
 CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Piedmont Natural Gas Company (NYSE: PNY) today reported financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended October 31, 1991, subject to completion of its annual audit.
 The Charlotte-based natural gas and propane distributor, which normally reports seasonal losses in the fourth quarter, today reported net income and earnings per share that were 30 percent and 41 percent higher, respectively, than for the same period a year earlier. The increases were achieved in a three-month period during which the weather was essentially the same (16 percent warmer than normal) as in the year-earlier period.
 Results for the Company's fiscal year were affected by the dramatically warm weather experienced by much of the nation during the year. Weather in the Company's service area for the twelve-month period was 20 percent warmer than normal. "Weather in our first quarter 1991 was the warmest in the Company's history, and the warmest on record in North Carolina," commented Company Chairman and President, John H. Maxheim. "Had the weather been normal this past winter, net income for the year would have been $29.4 million rather than the $20.6 million being reported."
 General rate increases for natural gas service totaling $18 million were granted in 1991 by the utilities commissions in the three states served by the Company. These increases will be fully in effect for the 1992 fiscal year. Grated were a $9.7 million increase in North Carolina effective July 22, 1991, a $5.2 million increase in Tennessee effective September 27, 1991, and a $3 million increase in South Carolina effective November 27, 1991.
 In addition, new Weather Normalization Adjustment (WNA) formulas were approved by the regulatory commissions in North Carolina and Tennessee and were initiated in November 1991. A WNA was also approved in South Carolina to become effective in December 1992. The WNAs will assist in reducing future variations in the Company's earnings and in the customers' bills caused by abnormal weather patterns.
 "Despite the warm weather this year, our company's long-term growth prospects continue to be excellent," said Maxheim. The addition of 25,000 new residential and commercial natural gas customers and over 6,000 new propane customers was similar to the past two years. In 1992, we expect to again experience a customer growth rate that far exceeds the national average for natural gas distribution companies."
 SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
 Three months ended Oct. 31 1991 1990 Pct. Increase
 (Decrease)
 Margin (revenues less cost
 of gas) $26,192,000 $21,428,000 22.2
 Net income $(4,731,000) $(6,786,000) 30.3
 Operating revenues (see
 note below) $60,069,000 $48,432,000 24.0
 Weighted average shares outstanding:
 Primary 12,322,000 10,669,000 15.5
 Fully diluted 12,522,000 11,093,000 12.9
 Earnings per share of common stock:
 Primary $(.38) $(.64) 40.6
 Fully diluted $(.38) $(.64) 40.6
 Gas delivered - Dekatherms 19,482,000 18,046,000 8.0
 Percent normal degree days 84 pct. 83 pct. 1.0
 Year ended Oct. 31 1991 1990 Pct. Increase
 (Decrease)
 Margin (revenues less cost
 of gas) $170,247,000 $167,555,000 1.6
 Net income $ 20,552,000 $ 25,733,000 (20.1)
 Operating revenues (see
 note below) $411,548,000 $403,815,000 1.9
 Weighted average shares outstanding:
 Primary 11,641,000 10,565,000 10.2
 Fully diluted 11,902,000 11,029,000 7.9
 Earnings per share of common stock:
 Primary $1.77 $2.44 (27.5)
 Fully diluted $1.75 $2.38 (26.5)
 Gas delivered - Dekatherms 104,863,000 103,350,000 1.5
 Percent normal degree days 80 pct. 89 pct. (9.0)
 Dividend Declared
 At the meeting of the board of directors held today, the board declared a quarterly dividend on common stock of 44 cents per share. The dividend is payable Jan. 15, 1992, to holders of record at the close of business on Dec. 26, 1991.
 NOTE REGARDING REVENUES: 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- 12/6/91
 /CONTACT: Stephen D. Conner of Piedmont Natural Gas Company, 704-364-3486 ext. 205 or (home) 704-364-0526/
 (PNY) CO: Piedmont Natural Gas Company ST: North Carolina IN: UTI SU: ERN DIV


JM-AT -- CH005 -- 0102 12/06/91 12:19 EST
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Date:Dec 6, 1991
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