In its third-quarter earnings call this year, FPL Group indicated that its revised 2009 adjusted earnings per share expectations were in a range of $4.10 to $4.20.
The Seabrook Station nuclear plant underwent a planned refueling outage in October. The outage included replacement of one portion of the steam turbine rotor, a non-nuclear plant component with no impact on nuclear safety.
As the unit was ramping up to full power on November 14, a higher-than-expected vibration level was detected on the steam turbine rotor. The unit¬ís electricity output was reduced to 65 percent to minimize vibrations and allow for careful analysis of the problem.
Since that time, FPL Group has been working with the manufacturer of the turbine rotor to identify a solution. On December 6, the plant was taken off-line to implement corrective measures. FPL Group believes that a solution to the turbine rotor vibration issue has been identified and that the plant will be back on-line prior to the end of 2009; however, there can be no assurance that the implementation of this solution will result in the plant coming back on-line prior to year-end.
FPL Group is also continuing to experience a poor wind resource across its fleet of wind turbines. On its third-quarter earnings call, the company noted that it believed the wind resource was being affected by the El Nino weather pattern currently being experienced in North America. The wind resource has remained below expectations during the fourth quarter, with a quarter to date actual versus predicted output of approximately 81 percent, and is contributing to the company¬ís reduced 2009 adjusted earnings expectations.
The combined impact of these two factors is estimated to be a reduction in adjusted earnings per share of $0.17 to $0.21 relative to the previously discussed expectations range for full-year 2009 adjusted earnings per share.
Since the Seabrook outage is not expected to continue beyond the end of 2009, FPL Group currently anticipates no material impact on 2010 adjusted earnings. FPL Group continues to expect adjusted earnings per share in 2010 to be within a range of $4.25-$4.85.
FPL Group¬ís earnings expectations assume, among other things: normal weather and operating performance at its plants; no further significant decline in the national or the Florida economy; supportive commodity markets; continued public policy support for renewable power project development; selective transmission expansion to support renewable power projects; continued wind supply chain expansion; continued expansion of NextEra Energy Resources¬í non-wind activities; access to reasonable capital and credit markets; no acquisitions; and a constructive regulatory framework in Florida.