Earnings from the gas utility improved $1.2 million compared with the earnings of in the year-ago quarter. In 2008, first-quarter earnings were lower because of a payment on a weather hedge. During the first quarter of 2009, MGE Energy experienced lower retail sales volumes of 2.6% because of milder weather compared to the year-ago quarter. This was replaced by a benefit from the company’s gas cost incentive mechanism.

Increased earnings from gas operations were partly offset by lower electric sales during the first quarter of 2009. A 2.8% decrease in electric revenue is due to lower customer demand and lower sales for resale.