Duke Energy posted a strong third quarter as a hot summer boosted electricity sales, especially in the Carolinas.
The state's largest utility has 1.8 million customers in North Carolina, including more than 160,000 in Durham, Chapel Hill and western parts of the Triangle.
Raleigh-based Progress Energy is scheduled to report its results Friday morning.
Excluding weather fluctuations, the utilities are considered a good barometer for the state's economic health.
“While weather was a predominant factor for the quarter, we also saw signs of continued improvement in the economy as evidenced by our increased industrial sales volumes,” Duke CEO Jim Rogers said.
In the Carolinas, sales to industries rose 8.8 percent, continuing an uptick from the second quarter. Residential sales went up 13.8 percent, reflecting the air conditioners set humming by hot weather.
Total revenue rose nearly 15 percent to $3.9 billion, the Charlotte company reported this morning.
Earnings per share of 51 cents exceeded analysts' estimates.
Duke shares rose 20 cents to close at $18.07 today. The stock is up 14 percent in the past year.
Temperature wise, the Carolinas saw the hottest third quarter since Duke began keeping records in 1961, pushing up residential electricity sales and accounting for most of the earnings rise.
Duke also serves customers in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
Read a full Charlotte Observer report on the company's earnings here.