Heat wave boosts Duke earnings

Third-quarter net income $607 million

CHARLOTTE --Duke Energy reported banking tens of millions in extra profits from higher-than-average electric bills during the third quarter, which covered this summer's record-breaking heat wave.

The Charlotte-based utility, with operations in the Carolinas and three Midwest states, reported falling earnings compared with the same quarter last year. But a portion of last year's earnings was from natural gas operations spun off in January into standalone Spectra Energy.

With special items removed, Duke reported net income of $607 million, or 48 cents per share for the third quarter. That compares with adjusted net income of $371 million, or 29 cents per share for the same period last year, the company said.

Duke reported total net in- come for last year's third quarter of $763 million, before the natural gas unit was spun off. The total equaled 60 cents per share.

The summer, August in particular, saw soaring power demand in the Carolinas and in the Midwest as customers cranked up air conditioners during a heat wave that saw record-breaking temperatures.