It reported consolidated earnings of $18.6m for the first nine months of 2009, compared to $16.4m for the same period last year.

Bob Young, president of Central Vermont Public Service, said: “The economy is clearly having an impact on our business by reducing energy demand, but thanks to prudent cost controls and hard work, we are performing even better than we expected. We have seen demand fall among all classes of customers, from residential to industrial, but we continue to work with the resources we have, and we continue to provide exemplary service to our customers. That is the foundation for everything we do, and we are excelling on that front.

“Three-quarters of the way through the year, we are on our way to meeting every one of our state-monitored service quality standards. If we maintain that level of quality, which I am confident we will, it will make 2009 the fifth straight year we have met all standards, which is the best mark of any utility in Vermont.”

Through the first nine months, operating revenues decreased $4.3m, including a $5.8m decrease in retail revenues, an increase of $1m from provision for rate refunds, partially offset by a $1.7m increase in other operating revenues and a $0.8m increase in resale revenue.

The decrease in retail revenues resulted from lower average usage resulting from the sluggish economy, energy conservation, and the loss of three commercial and industrial customers due to plant closures, partially offset by higher average unit prices due to customer usage mix.

The provision for rate refund is related to the 2009 deferrals of over-collection of power, production and transmission costs as required by the power cost adjustment clause of the company’s alternative regulation plan. The over-collection of power costs is being returned to retail customers through the first quarter of 2010. Other operating revenues increased primarily due to increased sales of transmission rights, renewable energy credits and increased wholesale rates. Resale revenues increased due to higher volumes of excess power available for resale, partially offset by lower average market prices.

Purchased power expense decreased $6.4m primarily due to a reduction of $3.9m in purchases from Independent Power Producers. Short-term power purchases decreased $3.8m and decommissioning costs decreased $0.7m. These reductions were partially offset by an increase in other power costs of $1.7m, primarily due to increased capacity payments of $1.2m, and increased Hydro-Quebec purchases of $0.3m.

Other operating expenses increased $4.8m, primarily due to a $3.2m increase in transmission expenses due to higher rates, and higher costs from Vermont Transco for its capital projects, offset by higher NOATT reimbursements. Other increased costs included higher regulatory amortizations of $1.5m, higher depreciation expense of $0.8m, higher reserves for uncollectible accounts of $0.4m, higher outside services of $0.4m and higher property taxes of $0.4mi.

These higher costs were partially offset by a $2.4m decrease in maintenance expenses, primarily due to lower service restoration costs.

In the third quarter of 2009, operating revenues decreased $2m and purchased power expense decreased $2.5m. Short-term purchases decreased $3.2m and IPP purchases decreased $0.5m, partially offset by an increase in other purchases of $1m.