1 Q4 Fiscal Year 2017 Conference Call CORPORATE PARTICIPANTS Tammy Wilson Vice President, Treasurer, and Chief Risk Officer Bill Johnson President and Chief Executive Officer John Thomas Chief Financial Officer
2 1 PRESENTATION Good morning, everyone and welcome to the s Fiscal Year 2017 Conference Call. For your information, today s call is being recorded. All participants will be in listenonly mode. Should you need assistance, please signal a conference specialist by pressing the star key followed by zero. After today s presentation there will be an opportunity to ask questions. To ask a question you may press star, then one on your touchtone phone. To withdraw your question please press star, then two. At this time, for opening remarks I would like to turn the call over to Ms. Tammy Wilson, TVA Vice President, Treasurer, and Chief Risk Officer. Ms. Wilson, please go ahead. Tammy Wilson Thank you, Carrie. Good morning, everyone and welcome to the s Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Review. Unlike many of our peers, TVA s fiscal year runs from October 1 st through September 30 th. So today is TVA s year-end call. Leading our discussion this morning is Bill Johnson, TVA s President and Chief Executive Officer; and John Thomas, TVA s Chief Financial Officer. Speaking of John, today is his birthday, so I d like to wish John a Happy Birthday today. On our call this morning, Bill will begin our discussion highlighting the key events and results from 2017, and then we ll outline our priorities for Following Bill s remarks, John will review TVA s financial performance for fiscal year The call will then be opened up to give our participants the opportunity to ask questions. But before we begin, I would like to point out that today s press release and TVA s annual report on Form 10-K for fiscal year ended September 30 th of 2017 is available on TVA s website and that s A replay of this call will also be available on TVA s website for a period of one year. Today s discussion may include forward-looking statements that are subject to various risks and uncertainties, so please refer to TVA s annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 30 th of 17 for a discussion of these factors. So with that, I will now turn the call over to TVA s President and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Johnson. Bill Johnson Thank you, Tammy. Good morning, everyone and thanks for joining us on the call this morning. Two thousand seventeen was a good year for TVA, a year of steady progress on meeting the goals of our long-term financial plan and our operational objectives. I ll share some highlights in a moment, but first I d like to start with a reminder of why TVA is here. TVA s mission is to provide clean, reliable energy at the lowest feasible cost, be good stewards of the environment, and bring economic development to the Tennessee Valley. We foster this mission by focusing on the right things: rates and debt, our asset portfolio, and stewardship. The mission is the foundation of these ongoing strategic imperatives, which drive our business plan and yearly priorities. This past year our priorities were to continue providing low-cost reliable power, sustain and increase the efficiencies we ve obtained in recent years, make progress on projects that diversify our asset base, meet our stewardship responsibilities to the Valley, support economic development and carry out these
3 2 activities safely and effectively. By focusing on these items we made significant progress in 2017 on the financial plan we established in 2013, designed to improve efficiency, solidify the performance of our assets and diversify and optimize our generation portfolio to reduce fuel cost and reduce debt. We re now about halfway through that ten year financial plan. During the last five years we ve focused on gaining efficiencies in our business, and completing a capital plan, with $16 billion in investments in large construction programs. We ve got $800 million in annual O&M expenses and reduced fuel costs by about $1 billion a year. These strategic asset investments we have made in the power system, more natural gas, and nuclear in particular, are yielding significant benefits. As a result, our effective power rates are now 2% lower than what we were charging customers in We reduced power rates during this time while completing several major projects, including Watts Bar Unit 2, the first new nuclear unit in the US of this century, and several other major generating plants, while reducing debt by nearly $200 million in We accomplished this during a period when TVA s sales were actually down slightly as we experienced some of the mildest weather conditions in decades and saw the increasing effect of energy efficiency. Despite the less favorable weather, strong financial performance in 2017 provided TVA the opportunity to contribute $800 million to the TVA retirement system, $500 million more than planned. That additional funding has put us on a more confident path and will help ensure a secure retirement for our current employees and for TVA s strongest advocates, our 24,000 retirees. As you know, we ve been on a significant capital expansion program over the last several years, and the investments TVA has made have already been an important contributor to our financial success. While we re building new projects, we re also investing more in the existing fleet, and doing better in operating that fleet. Our customers will continue to see the benefits of greater system diversity and better operating performance and power rates. We continue to make progress in 2017 in several additional projects that will add to the success going forward. We declared both Watts Bar Unit 2 and the Paradise Combined Cycle commercially operational during the year. Each of these projects move us significantly closer to our strategic goal of a more balanced generating portfolio that provides cleaner, reliable, and affordable energy. More nuclear power in particular is a key part of our effort to make TVA s power system cleaner and more diversified. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently approved TVA s request for a license amendment to allow extended power upgrades in each of the three units of Browns Ferry. The upgrades will result in 465 megawatts of additional capacity, enough additional carbon-free energy to supply 280,000 homes in the Valley. TVA will finish implementing the extended power upgrade project during the refueling outages over the next two years. Additionally, work on the Allen Combined Cycle natural gas-fired facility near Memphis is nearly complete. That plan remains on schedule to go into commercial operation early next year, once reliability and performance testing is completed. The Allen Project includes a renewable energy project, a solar facility with 3,000 panels across three acres that began producing carbon-free power in August. That solar facility, along with bio-gas generation at the Allen site, produces enough renewable energy to power nearly 3,000 homes. With these and other projects TVA has added over 3,700 megawatts of clean energy and retired several thousand megawatts of coal-fired generation capacity in recent years. These actions have significantly improved the ability of TVA s power system to provide clean, low-cost, and reliable energy. We plan to retire all four units at our Johnsonville plant by the end of December, further reducing coal-
4 3 fired generation by an additional 428 megawatts. The Allen coal plant will close after the combined cycle plants there goes into operation. We expect coal to continue to be part of TVA s generating mix for years to come, as we work within current and future regulatory and market conditions to ensure a supply of reliable, low-cost, and cleaner energy for the region. To that end, two of our largest remaining capital projects right now are related to clean air. Our one billion multi-year project to install clean air equipment at Gallatin, near Nashville, is on track to be completed on time and on budget during Work on emissions reduction equipment is also underway at Units 1 and 4 at the Shawnee plant, and these scrubbers and SCR s are also expected to be operational this fall. TVA has worked hard to improve air quality in the region, and these latest clean air projects continue significant investments we ve already made, about $6 billion, which have achieved significant results. Through the work of TVA and others, air quality in the Tennessee Valley region is better than it has been since We re on track to reduce carbon emissions 60% by 2020 from what they were in Additionally, earlier this year we announced a new $300 million strategic fiber initiative to upgrade our telecommunications capacity, adding approximately 3,500 miles of fiber to our system over the next ten years. This robust fiber backbone will improve the reliability and resiliency of our transmission system while enabling the system to better accommodate distributed energy resources as they enter the market and provide benefits for our customers. Two thousand seventeen has also been a very strong year for another important part of TVA s mission: economic development. We ve seen tremendous capital investment in the Tennessee Valley over the last few years and many jobs created. In fact, 2017 continued record-setting performance for economic development, as TVA and local partners were able to attract and retain 70,000 jobs and leverage $8.3 billion in new investments. The companies and industries located in the Tennessee Valley are attracted to several strong attributes of our region, including low-cost, reliable power provided by TVA and our local power company partners. These investments represent industries ranging from manufacturing to engineering and technology, bringing additional jobs and positive economic impacts to the Valley. Finally, let me give you an outline of our priorities for next fiscal year. In 2018, we will continue to build on the progress we achieved this year and remain diligent on meeting TVA s strategic imperatives. A major focus in the coming years will be building long-term financial health by reducing debt and pension liabilities. Our business plan for 2018, which was approved by the TVA board in August, takes additional steps to reduce these liabilities through a modest base-rate increase and continued contributions to the retirement system. Both of these steps will reduce risk and build future flexibility, which we feel will become more important as our industry faces continued change in the coming years. So in 2018 we will be working on keeping operating expenses low, reducing liabilities, and making continued investments in generation and transmission assets that will maintain lower energy costs. Our capital projects in 2018 reflect these priorities and will be primarily focused on maintaining assets and investing in transmission and other system projects that sustain reliable operations. Maintaining reliability is a critical focus area. TVA employees work year-round to help ensure the generating plants operate safely and reliability to meet the region s power needs even in extreme weather. In fact since 2000, TVA employees have enjoyed % reliability in power delivery. We re building on that record and making investments to ensure that we maintain the reliability our customers expect. In 2017, we invested $385 million in transmission expansion projects, and we expect to invest an
5 4 additional $1.4 billion in similar projects over the next three years. Our capital commitments also support our stewardship responsibilities, another critical part of our mission in the Valley. As part of that, we re making good progress on our $450 million multi-year repair project at Boone Dam, which we expect to complete by 2022, and other projects under our dam safety program. We also remain focused on dealing effectively with the storage of coal ash and other combustion residuals, and we are taking a programmatic approach to carrying out this responsibility and ensure its integrity at all of our coal-fired plants. Steady progress is being made on a multi-year project to close all of our wet coal ash storage facilities and convert these to dry methods. So in summary, in addition to improving financial health, our priorities for 2018 outline a continued emphasis on safety, operational excellence, stewardship, and economic development. TVA will also begin working with customers in the next two years on an updated financial plan that builds on our results using a transparent and collaborative process. Now I ll turn the call over to the one-year-older, John Thomas, to discuss our results in more detail. John Thomas Thank you, Bill. I ll begin with the highlights overall. Sales were 2% lower, driven predominantly by weather, that I ll talk more about in a moment. Our revenues were up 1%, really driven by higher fuel cost, and I ll cover some details of that as well. Overall, O&M s higher if you include the $500 million pension contribution. If you exclude that as well as the nuclear refueling outages, our controllable O&M, where we ve been working on our O&M efficiencies, is actually relatively flat to last year. Interest expense is flat, and overall net income was $685 million. To talk a bit more about the weather and its impact on 2017, this chart shows you cooling and heating degree days. In 2016, we had an extremely mild winter but we had a pretty warm summer that really overall drove revenues in the fourth quarter. In 2017 we had an even milder winter, the mildest since 1965, and then a somewhat normal summer. And so that ended up overall with less sales. You can see that shows up at 2% lower than the previous year. You can see the operating revenues at $123 million higher, driven predominantly by the fuel cost recovery. But let s talk a little bit about our fuel costs and our fuel cost recovery. Two big drivers to that one is the average price of natural gas at $2.99 per MMBTU versus 2016 at $2.25, somewhat mitigated by the fact that we had more nuclear generation, so 38% versus 33%. Consider that we had 189 nuclear refueling outage days in 2017 versus 89 in 2016, so you can see the contribution that Watts Bar 2 makes as well as pretty strong nuclear performance throughout the year. So from an income statement perspective, I mentioned the operating revenues at $123 million higher. Fuel and purchase power at $70 million higher. Our operations and maintenance expenditures $520 million higher, but you can see the impact of predominantly nuclear refueling outage and the pension contribution, so our controllable O&M was actually down 3% or $63 million. Our depreciation and amortization was down $119 million. As I ve mentioned in previous quarters, every five years we update our depreciation study. We did that end of last year, and that changed some of the useful lives that reduced our depreciation expense. Overall, $685 million of net income, 548 lower than last year, but if you exclude the pension contribution, essentially in line with what we saw in Our cash flow from operations, while down slightly from last year, $2.7 billion of operating cash flow is pretty strong for us. Investing activities as we move out of these large construction projects is down $577 million, so with those results, as you would expect, we had less financing this year, $271 million
6 5 less. This was the first year in our plan where we actually have begun reducing our overall debt and financing obligations. So from $26.2 billion last year down to $26 billion this year. We did make this $500 million incremental contribution to the pension plan, and overall contributed $800 million. Part of this is to ensure that our pension plan is on a sound path toward being fully funded. So, we can think about this contribution two ways: one is, it has improved the confidence level from roughly 50% to about 63% and we sit overall at about a 70% confidence level today; or you can think of it in terms of years to be fully funded, and it s reduced that from roughly 20 years to 15 years. Overall, I think a solid year financially. We re maintaining our path toward O&M efficiencies, net income consistent with what we saw in We wrap up these large construction projects but continue to invest in the reliability of the transmission and operating system that we have and we have begun this favorable path towards debt reduction. I ll turn the call back over to Carrie to queue up the questions. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, at this time we begin today s question-and-answer session. TVA would like to provide the financial community with the first opportunity to ask questions. To ask a question, you may press star, then one on your touchtone phone. If you are using a speakerphone, please pick up your handset before pressing the keys. To withdraw your question, please press star, then two. At this time, we will pause momentarily to assemble our roster. The first question will come from of Chattanooga Times Free Press. Please go ahead. Good morning. Happy birthday, John. John Thomas Thanks, Dave. The retirement fund that you added additional funding you said you hope long term to reduce debt and do more with the pension fund. Do you anticipate additional contributions in this year or the next year, beyond the $300 million commitment you made already? John Thomas I think it s a little early to tell, Dave. I think that the $500 million that we contributed made a significant improvement. At this point we re almost 64% funded, and that s the highest funding since So I think we ve made big steps in terms of the ongoing contribution commitment we ve made at 300 a year, then 500 incremental (this year). If there were to be opportunities based off strong performance on things, we would assess that and discuss with the board. We do that annually when we review our budget in August. I had a question about coal, it looked like 25% of your generation was from coal. I wonder in the last time you were that low, and will it go much lower now with Allen and Paradise changes and others?
7 6 Bill Johnson This is probably the lowest coal, I don t know, in 50 years perhaps. I think eventually we will get down to 20% by the end of the decade and a little lower in the mid 2020 s, somewhere in that range. The assets that we have cleaned up with the equipment, we will continue to operate but I think it will drift down even lower in the future years. Thanks. I ll see if anybody else is on the line. Again, if you have a question, please press star, then one. CONCLUSION Being no other questions, this concludes today s question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Mr. Bill Johnson for any closing remarks. Bill Johnson Thanks, Carrie. Two thousand and seventeen was a year of significant progress toward the goals outlined in our business plan and a year of solid financial performance, despite some weather challenges. We ll be working over the next year to build additional efficiencies to improve performance and further diversify our generation portfolio to maintain low energy costs, and reduce liabilities to help build long-term financial health. We believe that our efforts in recent years have done a great deal to ensure the sustainability of TVA and our business model. We look forward to welcoming new members to the TVA Board soon. We ll strive to continue the progress we ve made and build on TVA s strategic success but working with the Board; our customers; you, our investors; and other stakeholders. In wrapping up today s call, let me thank you again for your ongoing support of TVA. Thanks for your time. The conference has now concluded. Thank you for attending today s presentation. You may now disconnect your lines. Have a great day.