ALLENTOWN, Pa., May 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) is poised to deliver strong earnings growth, a competitive dividend and long-term value for shareowners as it invests in a smarter, cleaner energy future, the company told shareowners Wednesday (5/25) at PPL's annual meeting in Allentown, Pa.
"In 2015, we invested more than $3.5 billion in infrastructure improvements," said William H. Spence, PPL's chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer. "Over the next five years, we plan to invest an additional $16 billion to make the energy grid more reliable, resilient and secure, to advance a cleaner energy mix, and to incorporate new technology."
Spence said the company's focus on reliability includes hardening its systems and better protecting them against weather and other elements. It includes building new substations and power lines that offer greater flexibility to move power when trouble strikes. It also includes incorporating smart grid technology that can sense power outages as they happen and, within minutes, automatically restore service to many customers before repairs are made.
"These investments in the energy grid are already making a significant difference," Spence said, highlighting as examples the record reliability performance of its United Kingdom operations in 2015 and a 30 percent drop in outages for PPL Electric Utilities customers in Pennsylvania.
He said the company is also investing in a cleaner energy future by helping customers save energy – about 3 billion kilowatt-hours annually; leading the way, according to U.K. regulators, in connecting renewable energy to the grid to advance U.K. carbon reduction goals; and taking steps to enhance the mix of energy sources in Kentucky, where PPL owns regulated generation. Those steps included completing the retirement of 800 megawatts of coal-fired generation in 2015 and replacing it with a cleaner burning natural-gas-fired power plant, as well as breaking ground on a new solar power plant and announcing plans to offer onsite solar generation for businesses.
Last, but not least, Spence said the company is also investing in new technology to improve service and operate more efficiently. Examples include drones for power line inspections, electric-lift bucket trucks and mobile-friendly tools to provide outage information to customers. In addition, he said PPL is investing in the communities where it does business, donating more than $12 million to support community programs in 2015.
Bolstered by its investments in the future, Spence said the company continues to expect compound annual earnings growth of 5 to 6 percent through 2018.
"With a low-risk business plan, we are poised to deliver competitive earnings growth and dividends going forward," he told the audience, adding that he believes PPL's best days are ahead.
During the meeting, PPL shareowners also elected nine directors to one-year terms, approved 2015 compensation for executive officers named in the company's proxy statement, approved the company's 2016 short-term incentive compensation plan, approved the amendment of the company's articles of incorporation to increase the number of authorized shares of common stock, and ratified the appointment of Deloitte & Touche LLP as the company's independent registered public accounting firm for 2016. Visit the Board of Directors page at www.pplweb.com for background on the directors elected Wednesday.
Shareowners also considered and rejected a shareowner proposal to assess and report on the deployment of distributed generation resources.
Headquartered in Allentown, Pa., PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) is one of the largest companies in the U.S. utility sector. PPL's seven high-performing, award-winning utilities serve 10 million customers in the U.S. and United Kingdom. The company and its 13,000 employees are dedicated to providing exceptional customer service and reliability and delivering superior value for shareowners. To learn more, visit www.pplweb.com.
Management utilizes "Earnings from ongoing operations" as a non-GAAP financial measure, and it should not be considered as an alternative to reported earnings, or net income, which is an indicator of operating performance determined in accordance with GAAP. PPL believes that earnings from ongoing operations is useful and meaningful to investors because it provides management's view of PPL's earnings performance as another criterion in making investment decisions. PPL's management also uses earnings from ongoing operations in measuring certain corporate performance goals. Other companies may use different measures to present financial performance.
Statements contained in the presentations at this meeting, including statements with respect to future earnings, cash flows, financing, regulation and corporate strategy, are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Although PPL Corporation believes that the expectations and assumptions reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from the results discussed in the statements. The following are among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements: market demand for energy in our service territories; weather conditions affecting customer energy usage and operating costs; the effect of any business or industry restructuring; the profitability and liquidity of PPL Corporation and its subsidiaries; new accounting requirements or new interpretations or applications of existing requirements; operating performance of our facilities; the length of scheduled and unscheduled outages at our generating plants; environmental conditions and requirements and the related costs of compliance; system conditions and operating costs; development of new projects, markets and technologies; performance of new ventures; asset or business acquisitions and dispositions; any impact of severe weather on our business; receipt of necessary government permits, approvals, rate relief and regulatory cost recovery; capital market conditions and decisions regarding capital structure; the impact of state, federal or foreign investigations applicable to PPL Corporation and its subsidiaries; the outcome of litigation against PPL Corporation and its subsidiaries; stock price performance; the market prices of equity securities and the impact on pension income and resultant cash funding requirements for defined benefit pension plans; the securities and credit ratings of PPL Corporation and its subsidiaries; political, regulatory or economic conditions in states, regions or countries where PPL Corporation or its subsidiaries conduct business, including any potential effects of threatened or actual terrorism or war or other hostilities; British pound sterling to U.S. dollar exchange rates; new state, federal or foreign legislation, including new tax legislation; and the commitments and liabilities of PPL Corporation and its subsidiaries. Any such forward-looking statements should be considered in light of such important factors and in conjunction with PPL Corporation's Form 10-K and other reports on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Note to Editors: Visit our media website at www.pplnewsroom.com for additional news and background about PPL Corporation.
For news media – Ryan Hill, 610-774-5997
For financial analysts – Lisa Pammer, 610-774-3316
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SOURCE PPL Corporation