Unitil ends quarter down 6%



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A volatile gas market and higher interest pushed Unitil’s earnings down for the second quarter ending June 30. Net income was $1.4 million, or 25 cents per common share, down 6 percent from $1.5 million, or 27 cents per common share, in the second quarter of 2005. Earnings for the first six months of 2006 followed quarterly results with a net income of $3.4 million, or 61 cents per share, down about 19 percent from $4.2 million, or 75 cents per share. The Hampton-based utility said earnings for the second quarter of 2006 reflected higher interest, net operating expenses and lower gas sales margins. The losses were partially offset by improved margins on electric sales due to the recognition, in the second quarter of 2006, of estimated rate relief. Unitil Energy Systems Inc., the company’s operating utility, filed a request for a base rate increase of $4.65 million with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, which established temporary rate relief at current rate levels, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006, said the company in a statement. The rate filing is currently under review, with a PUC order anticipated before the end of 2006. — CINDY KIBBE Edit ModuleShow Tags