PPL packs a powerful punch in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and the UK. It distributes electricity to 10.5 million customers through regulated subsidiaries PPL Electric Utilities, two utilities in Kentucky, and Western Power Distribution Holdings in the UK. The company has 19,000 MW of generating capacity and also sells energy wholesale in key US markets. Western Power Distribution operates two of the 15 distribution networks providing electricity service in the UK -- WPD (South West) and WPD (South Wales). PPL's marketing unit PPL EnergyPlus buys and sells coal, oil and natural gas, as well as renewable energy credits.
PPL has power plants in the northeastern, northwestern and southeastern U.S.; markets wholesale or retail energy in the northeastern and northwestern US. It also delivers electricity to customers in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and the UK, and natural gas to customers in Kentucky.
In 2012 US accounted for 81% of company’s revenue.
PPL has four business segments: Kentucky Regulated; U.K. Regulated (which changed its name in 2012 from International Regulated to better reflect the focus of the segment); Pennsylvania Regulated; and Supply. PPL operates electricity distribution companies with more than 2.2 million customers in the US (PPL Electric Utilities, Louisville Gas and Electric, and Kentucky Utilities) and more than 7.8 million customers in the UK (Western Power Distribution). The utility operations have 200,000 miles of electric lines. PPL also operates a major wholesale power energy marketing operation in the US (PPL EnergyPlus).
In the Northeastern and Northwestern US PPL generates 11,000 MW of power, and some 8,000 MW in Kentucky. Its power generation comes primarily from coal-fired plants.
PPL's revenues declined by 4% in 2012 due to a reduction in coal-fired generation output which resulted in a surplus of coal inventory at certain of PPL Energy Supply's Pennsylvania coal plants. As a result PPL Energy Supply incurred pre-tax charges of $29 million in 2012 to reduce its 2012 and 2013 contracted coal deliveries.
The company reported a 2% increase in net income in 2012 thanks to lower operating expenses.
Once a global power player with interests in distribution companies worldwide, the company has opted for the UK as its non-US focus. PPL seeks long term stability in its regulated power distribution businesses through efficient operations and strong customer and regulatory relations, while seeking growth opportunities in its competitive electricity generation and marketing businesses.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Growing its US power capacity, in 2012 PPL acquired AES Ironwood and AES Prescott, which together own and operate the 705 MW AES Ironwood natural gas-fired power plant in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, from a unit of AES Corporation for $302 million.
Expanding its regulated power operations, in 2011 the company acquired the UK's #2 electric distribution business, WPD Midlands Holdings (formerly Central Networks) for $5.7 billion. The deal gave the company greater market share in the UK and added to 2011 earnings and cash flow. In 2012 and 2013 PPL invested in several projects to upgrade the UK distribution system.
In 2011, to raise cash, PPL sold its stakes in some non-core generating stations in the US to an affiliate of LS Power Equity for $381 million. The company was also pursuing further rate increases across its service areas in order to defray costs.