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PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY REPORTS INCREASED QUARTERLY EARNINGS

 PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY REPORTS INCREASED QUARTERLY EARNINGS
 GASTONIA, N.C., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Public Service Company of North Carolina, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: PSNC), a natural gas utility, today reported operating results for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 1991, the first quarter of fiscal 1992. These quarterly operating results reflect the effect of weather which was 8 percent warmer than normal, but 21 percent colder than the quarter ended Dec. 31, 1990.
 Total operating revenues for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 1991 were $68,238,000, an increase of $16,161,000 over the same quarter the prior year, while the cost of gas increased $9,572,000 to $39,732,000. This resulted in gross margin for the current quarter of $28,506,000, a 30 percent increase as compared to $21,917,000 for the same quarter the prior year. Other operating and maintenance expenses for the quarter were $10,401,000, only a 3 percent increase over the same quarter the prior year due to comprehensive cost control programs. Net income for the current quarter increased $2,935,000 to $5,056,000, as compared to $2,121,000 for the first quarter of fiscal 1991. Earnings per share were $.50, based on 10,113,000 average common shares outstanding, as compared to $.21 for the same quarter in fiscal 1991, based on 9,825,000 average common shares then outstanding.
 The increase in quarterly gross margin was due to increased quantities of natural gas sold for heating requirements to higher- margin residential and small commercial customers. Quantities of gas sold to those customers increased 23 percent and 39 percent, respectively, due primarily to weather that was 21 percent colder as compared to the prior year and to an increase of the respective customer bases of 4 percent and 5 percent. Deliveries to lower-margin industrial and large commercial customers remained relatively flat as compared to the same quarter in fiscal 1991. Additionally, the Company received a rate increase effective Nov. 1, 1991, from the North Carolina Utilities Commission. This order granted the Company increased annual revenues of $5,300,000 with a return on common equity of 12.9 percent and an overall return of 11.10 percent. Included in this rate order was a weather normalization adjustment mechanism which had a positive effect on gross margin for the current quarter.
 Operating revenues for the twelve months ended Dec. 31, 1991 were $209,398,000 compared to $194,075,000 for the same period in 1990. Gross margin for the comparative periods was $97,915,000 and $86,289,000, respectively. Net income for the period increased 30 percent to $13,525,000 as compared to $10,388,000 for the same period the prior year. Earnings per average common share for the twelve months ended Dec. 31, 1991 were $1.34, based on 10,024,000 average common shares outstanding. This represented a 28 percent increase from $1.05 for the prior twelve-month period, based on 9,738,000 average common shares then outstanding.
 Public Service Company distributes natural gas to over 245,000 customers in 87 cities, towns and communities in a 26-county service territory ranging from the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill areas in the northeast; the Concord, Statesville, Gastonia and Forest City areas in the Piedmont; to the Asheville, Hendersonville and Brevard areas in the western part of the state. Public Service Company, through subsidiaries of its wholly-owned subsidiary, PSNC Natural Resources Corporation, also participates in oil and gas exploration and production, and retails propane gas.
 COMPARATIVE RESULTS
 (Amounts in Thousands, Except Raleigh/Durham Degree Day and Per
 Share Data)
 First Quarter Twelve Months
 Periods Ended Dec. 31 1991 1990 1991 1990
 Normal degree days 1,266 1,266 3,356 3,356
 Actual degree days 1,169 967 2,928 2,473
 Percent of normal 92 76 87 74
 Total volume throughput (DT) 14,458 12,745 52,185 49,211
 Revenues $68,238 $52,077 $209,398 $194,075
 Gross margin $28,506 $21,917 $ 97,915 $ 86,289
 Operating income $ 8,569 $ 5,286 $ 27,442 $ 21,692
 Net income $ 5,056 $ 2,121 $ 13,525 $ 10,388
 Earnings for common $ 5,031 $ 2,092 $ 13,418 $ 10,266
 Average common shares 10,113 9,825 10,024 9,738
 Earnings per share $ .50 $ .21 $ 1.34 $ 1.05
 Cash dividends declared per share $ .275 $ .275 $ 1.10 $ 1.10
 -0- 1/22/92
 /CONTACT: Charles E. Zeigler, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, Public Service Company of North Carolina, 704-864-6731/
 (PSNC) CO: Public Service Company of North Carolina ST: North Carolina IN: UTI SU: ERN


CM-DF -- CH011 -- 2461 01/22/92 16:19 EST
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Date:Jan 22, 1992
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