ALLETE
ALLETE INC (Form: 10-Q, Received: 05/08/2013 08:04:28)
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-Q

(Mark One)
x
Quarterly Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
 
For the quarterly period ended March 31, 2013
  
or
 
¨
Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
 
For the transition period from ______________ to ______________

Commission File Number 1-3548

ALLETE, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Minnesota
 
41-0418150
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(IRS Employer Identification No.)

30 West Superior Street
Duluth, Minnesota 55802-2093
(Address of principal executive offices)
(Zip Code)

(218) 279-5000
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    x Yes    ¨ No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    x Yes    ¨ No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

Large Accelerated Filer x
Accelerated Filer ¨
 
Non-Accelerated Filer ¨
Smaller Reporting Company  ¨
 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).   ¨ Yes    x No

Common Stock, no par value,
39,921,805 shares outstanding
as of March 31, 2013




INDEX
 
 
 
Page
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
March 31, 2013 and December 31, 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Quarter Ended March 31, 2013 and 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Quarter Ended March 31, 2013 and 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Quarter Ended March 31, 2013 and 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
2



Definitions

The following abbreviations or acronyms are used in the text. References in this report to “we,” “us” and “our” are to ALLETE, Inc., and its subsidiaries, collectively.
Abbreviation or Acronym
Term
AC
Alternating Current
AFUDC
Allowance for Funds Used During Construction – the cost of both debt and equity funds used to finance utility plant additions during construction periods
ALLETE
ALLETE, Inc.
ALLETE Clean Energy
ALLETE Clean Energy, Inc.
ALLETE Properties
ALLETE Properties, LLC, and its subsidiaries
ArcelorMittal
ArcelorMittal USA, Inc.
ATC
American Transmission Company LLC
Bison
Bison Wind Energy Center
BNI Coal
BNI Coal, Ltd.
Boswell
Boswell Energy Center
CAIR
Clean Air Interstate Rule
CO 2
Carbon Dioxide
Company
ALLETE, Inc., and its subsidiaries
CSAPR
Cross-State Air Pollution Rule
DC
Direct Current
EPA
Environmental Protection Agency
ESOP
Employee Stock Ownership Plan
FASB
Financial Accounting Standards Board
FERC
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Form 10-K
ALLETE Annual Report on Form 10-K
Form 10-Q
ALLETE Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q
GAAP
United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
GHG
Greenhouse Gases
Hibbard
Hibbard Renewable Energy Center
Invest Direct
ALLETE’s Direct Stock Purchase and Dividend Reinvestment Plan
Item ___
Item ___ of this Form 10-Q
kV
Kilovolt(s)
Laskin
Laskin Energy Center
LIBOR
London Interbank Offered Rate
MACT
Maximum Achievable Control Technology
Magnetation
Magnetation, Inc.
Manitoba Hydro
Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board
MATS
Mercury and Air Toxics Standards
Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D provision of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010
Mesabi Nugget
Mesabi Nugget Delaware, LLC
Minnesota Power
An operating division of ALLETE, Inc.
Minnkota Power
Minnkota Power Cooperative, Inc.

ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
3



Definitions (Continued)
 
Abbreviation or Acronym
Term
MISO
Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.
MPCA
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
MPUC
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
MW / MWh
Megawatt(s) / Megawatt-hour(s)
NAAQS
National Ambient Air Quality Standards
NDPSC
North Dakota Public Service Commission
Non-residential
Retail commercial, non-retail commercial, office, industrial, warehouse, storage and institutional
NO 2
Nitrogen Dioxide
NO X
Nitrogen Oxides
Note ___
Note ___ to the consolidated financial statements in this Form 10-Q
NPDES
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
Oliver Wind I
Oliver Wind I Energy Center
Oliver Wind II
Oliver Wind II Energy Center
Palm Coast Park
Palm Coast Park development project in Florida
Palm Coast Park District
Palm Coast Park Community Development District
PolyMet
PolyMet Mining Corporation
PPA
Power Purchase Agreement
PPACA
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010
PSCW
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
Rainy River Energy
Rainy River Energy Corporation - Wisconsin
SEC
Securities and Exchange Commission
SIP
State Implementation Plan
SO 2
Sulfur Dioxide
Square Butte
Square Butte Electric Cooperative
SWL&P
Superior Water, Light and Power Company
Taconite Harbor
Taconite Harbor Energy Center
Taconite Ridge
Taconite Ridge Energy Center
Town Center
Town Center at Palm Coast development project in Florida
Town Center District
Town Center at Palm Coast Community Development District
U.S.
United States of America
USS Corporation
United States Steel Corporation
WDNR
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
4



Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this report that are not statements of historical facts are considered “forward-looking” and, accordingly, involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed. Although such forward-looking statements have been made in good faith and are based on reasonable assumptions, there can be no assurance that the expected results will be achieved. Any statements that express, or involve discussions as to, future expectations, risks, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions, events, uncertainties, financial performance, or growth strategies (often, but not always, through the use of words or phrases such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “projects,” “likely,” “will continue,” “could,” “may,” “potential,” “target,” “outlook” or words of similar meaning) are not statements of historical facts and may be forward-looking.

In connection with the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, we are providing this cautionary statement to identify important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated in forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of ALLETE in this Form 10-Q, in presentations, on our website, in response to questions or otherwise. These statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to, and are accompanied by, the following important factors, in addition to any assumptions and other factors referred to specifically in connection with such forward-looking statements that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements:

our ability to successfully implement our strategic objectives;
regulatory or legislative actions, including those of the United States Congress, state legislatures, the FERC, the MPUC, the PSCW, the NDPSC, the EPA and various state, local and county regulators, and city administrators, that impact our allowed rates of return, capital structure, ability to secure financing, industry and rate structure, acquisition and disposal of assets and facilities, operation and construction of plant facilities, recovery of purchased power, capital investments and other expenses, including present or prospective wholesale and retail competition and environmental matters;
our ability to manage expansion and integrate acquisitions;
our current and potential industrial and municipal customers’ ability to execute announced expansion plans;
the impacts on our Regulated Operations of climate change and future regulation to restrict the emissions of GHG;
effects of restructuring initiatives in the electric industry;
economic and geographic factors, including political and economic risks;
changes in and compliance with laws and regulations;
weather conditions, natural disasters and pandemic diseases;
war, acts of terrorism and cyber attacks;
wholesale power market conditions;
population growth rates and demographic patterns;
effects of competition, including competition for retail and wholesale customers;
zoning and permitting of land held for resale, real estate development or changes in the real estate market;
pricing, availability and transportation of fuel and other commodities and the ability to recover the costs of such commodities;
changes in tax rates or policies or in rates of inflation;
project delays or changes in project costs;
availability and management   of construction materials and skilled construction labor for capital projects;
changes in operating expenses and capital expenditures;
global and domestic economic conditions affecting us or our customers;
our ability to access capital markets and bank financing;
changes in interest rates and the performance of the financial markets;
our ability to replace a mature workforce and retain qualified, skilled and experienced personnel; and
the outcome of legal and administrative proceedings (whether civil or criminal) and settlements.

Additional disclosures regarding factors that could cause our results or performance to differ from those anticipated by this report are discussed in Item 1A under the heading “Risk Factors” beginning on page 27 of our 2012 Form 10-K. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which that statement is made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all of these factors, nor can we assess the impact of each of these factors on our businesses or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. Readers are urged to carefully review and consider the various disclosures made by us in this Form 10-Q and in our other reports filed with the SEC that attempt to identify the risks and uncertainties that may affect our business.

ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
5



PART I.  FINANCIAL INFORMATION
ITEM 1.  FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
ALLETE
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET
Millions – Unaudited
 
March 31,
2013
 
December 31,
2012
 
 
 
 
Assets
 
 
 
Current Assets
 
 
 
Cash and Cash Equivalents

$77.3

 

$80.8

Accounts Receivable (Less Allowance of $1.0 and $1.0)
86.2

 
89.0

Inventories
64.3

 
69.8

Prepayments and Other
28.1

 
33.6

Total Current Assets
255.9

 
273.2

Property, Plant and Equipment - Net
2,366.7

 
2,347.6

Regulatory Assets
336.6

 
340.3

Investment in ATC
109.0

 
107.3

Other Investments
138.6

 
143.5

Other Non-Current Assets
44.5

 
41.5

Total Assets

$3,251.3

 

$3,253.4

Liabilities and Equity
 
 
 
Liabilities
 
 
 
Current Liabilities
 
 
 
Accounts Payable

$53.3

 

$90.5

Accrued Taxes
36.2

 
30.2

Accrued Interest
14.1

 
15.6

Long-Term Debt Due Within One Year
41.2

 
84.5

Other
57.8

 
62.6

Total Current Liabilities
202.6

 
283.4

Long-Term Debt
975.1

 
933.6

Deferred Income Taxes
430.9

 
423.8

Regulatory Liabilities
59.2

 
60.1

Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Benefit Plans
216.3

 
228.2

Other Non-Current Liabilities
126.7

 
123.3

Total Liabilities
2,010.8

 
2,052.4

Commitments, Guarantees and Contingencies (Note 14)

 

Equity
 
 
 
Common Stock Without Par Value, 80.0 Shares Authorized, 39.9 and 39.4 Shares Outstanding
808.7

 
784.7

Unearned ESOP Shares
(19.2
)
 
(21.3
)
Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss
(21.6
)
 
(22.0
)
Retained Earnings
472.6

 
459.6

Total Equity
1,240.5

 
1,201.0

Total Liabilities and Equity

$3,251.3

 

$3,253.4

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these statements.

ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
6



ALLETE
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF INCOME
Millions Except Per Share Amounts – Unaudited
 
Quarter Ended
 
March 31,
 
2013
2012
 
 
 
Operating Revenue

$263.8


$240.0

Operating Expenses
 
 
Fuel and Purchased Power
86.5

77.1

Operating and Maintenance
104.7

99.9

Depreciation
28.2

24.6

Total Operating Expenses
219.4

201.6

Operating Income
44.4

38.4

Other Income (Expense)
 
 
Interest Expense
(12.3
)
(11.0
)
Equity Earnings in ATC
5.2

4.6

Other
2.7

0.7

Total Other Expense
(4.4
)
(5.7
)
Income Before Income Taxes
40.0

32.7

Income Tax Expense
7.5

8.3

Net Income

$32.5


$24.4

Average Shares of Common Stock
 
 
Basic
38.9

36.8

Diluted
39.0

36.9

Basic Earnings Per Share of Common Stock

$0.83


$0.66

Diluted Earnings Per Share of Common Stock

$0.83


$0.66

Dividends Per Share of Common Stock

$0.475


$0.46

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these statements.

ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
7



ALLETE
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
Millions – Unaudited


 
Quarter Ended
 
March 31,
Comprehensive Income (Loss)
2013
 
2012
Millions
 
 
 
Net Income

$32.5

 

$24.4

Other Comprehensive Income (Loss)
 
 
 
Unrealized Gain on Securities
 
 
 
Net of Income Taxes of $- and $0.7

 
1.0

Unrealized Gain (Loss) on Derivatives
 
 
 
Net of Income Taxes of $- and $(0.1)
0.1

 
(0.1
)
Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Benefit Plans
 
 
 
 Net of Income Taxes of $0.2 and $0.3
0.3

 
0.5

Total Other Comprehensive Income
0.4

 
1.4

Comprehensive Income

$32.9

 

$25.8

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these statements.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
8



ALLETE
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS
Millions – Unaudited
 
Quarter Ended
 
March 31,
 
2013
 
2012
 
 
 
 
Operating Activities
 
 
 
Net Income

$32.5

 

$24.4

Allowance for Funds Used During Construction – Equity
(1.1
)
 
(0.8
)
Income from Equity Investments, Net of Dividends
(1.3
)
 
(0.7
)
Gain on Sale of Assets
(0.2
)
 

Gain on Sale of Investments
(0.8
)
 

Depreciation Expense
28.2

 
24.6

Amortization of Debt Issuance Costs
0.3

 
0.2

Deferred Income Tax Expense
7.3

 
8.3

Share-Based Compensation Expense
0.6

 
0.7

ESOP Compensation Expense
2.0

 
1.8

Defined Benefit Pension and Postretirement Benefit Expense
5.6

 
6.9

Bad Debt Expense
0.1

 
0.3

Changes in Operating Assets and Liabilities
 
 
 
Accounts Receivable
2.7

 
2.7

Inventories
5.5

 
(3.1
)
Prepayments and Other
5.5

 
4.2

Accounts Payable
(11.0
)
 
(7.9
)
Other Current Liabilities
(0.7
)
 
(0.9
)
Cash Contributions to Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Benefit Plans
(10.8
)
 

Changes in Regulatory and Other Non-Current Assets
(1.9
)
 
2.1

Changes in Regulatory and Other Non-Current Liabilities
(4.3
)
 
5.7

Cash from Operating Activities
58.2

 
68.5

Investing Activities
 
 
 
Proceeds from Sale of Available-for-sale Securities
7.9

 
0.5

Payments for Purchase of Available-for-sale Securities
(1.2
)
 
(0.8
)
Investment in ATC
(0.4
)
 
(0.8
)
Changes to Other Investments
(1.0
)
 
(1.5
)
Additions to Property, Plant and Equipment
(69.8
)
 
(53.9
)
Proceeds from Sale of Assets
0.6

 

Cash for Investing Activities
(63.9
)
 
(56.5
)
Financing Activities
 
 
 
Proceeds from Issuance of Common Stock
23.4

 
23.7

Proceeds from Notes Payable

 
0.5

Payments for Long-Term Debt
(1.7
)
 
(1.4
)
Dividends on Common Stock
(19.5
)
 
(17.7
)
Cash from Financing Activities
2.2

 
5.1

Change in Cash and Cash Equivalents
(3.5
)
 
17.1

Cash and Cash Equivalents at Beginning of Period
80.8

 
101.1

Cash and Cash Equivalents at End of Period

$77.3

 

$118.2

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these statements.

ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
9



NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

The accompanying unaudited consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the instructions to Form 10-Q and Rule 10-01 of Regulation S-X and do not include all of the information and notes required by GAAP for complete financial statements. Similarly, the December 31, 2012 , Consolidated Balance Sheet was derived from audited financial statements but does not include all disclosures required by GAAP. All adjustments are of a normal, recurring nature, except as otherwise disclosed. Operating results for the period ended March 31, 2013 , are not necessarily indicative of results that may be expected for any other interim period or for the year ending December 31, 2013 . For further information, refer to the consolidated financial statements and notes included in our 2012 Form 10-K.


NOTE 1.  OPERATIONS AND SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Inventories. Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or market. Amounts removed from inventory are recorded on an average cost basis.
Inventories
March 31,
2013

 
December 31,
2012

Millions
 
 
 
Fuel

$22.4

 

$28.0

Materials and Supplies
41.9

 
41.8

Total Inventories

$64.3

 

$69.8


Prepayments and Other Current Assets
March 31,
2013

 
December 31,
2012

Millions
 
 
 
Deferred Fuel Adjustment Clause

$18.5

 

$22.5

Other
9.6

 
11.1

Total Prepayments and Other Current Assets

$28.1

 

$33.6


Other Current Liabilities
March 31,
2013

 
December 31,
2012

Millions
 
 
 
Customer Deposits (a)

$28.4

 

$28.8

Other
29.4

 
33.8

Total Other Current Liabilities

$57.8

 

$62.6

(a)
Customer deposits are primarily due to security deposits for capital expenditures relating to a transmission project.

Other Non-Current Liabilities
March 31,
2013

 
December 31,
2012

Millions
 
 
 
Asset Retirement Obligation

$80.6

 

$77.9

Other
46.1

 
45.4

Total Other Non-Current Liabilities

$126.7

 

$123.3



ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
10


NOTE 1.  OPERATIONS AND SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES (Continued)

Supplemental Statement of Cash Flows Information.

For the Quarter Ended March 31,
2013

 
2012

Millions
 
 
 
Cash Paid During the Period for Interest – Net of Amounts Capitalized

$12.0

 

$12.3

Cash Paid During the Period for Income Taxes

$0.5

 
$0.2
Noncash Investing and Financing Activities
 
 
 
Decrease in Accounts Payable for Capital Additions to Property, Plant and Equipment
$(26.2)
 
$(12.3)
Capitalized Asset Retirement Costs

$1.9

 

$2.4

AFUDC – Equity

$1.1

 

$0.8


Subsequent Events. The Company performed an evaluation of subsequent events for potential recognition and disclosure through the time of the financial statements issuance.

New Accounting Standards.

Amounts Reclassified Out of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income. In February 2013, the FASB issued an accounting standard update on disclosure of amounts reclassified out of accumulated other comprehensive income. This update requires entities to provide information about amounts reclassified out of accumulated other comprehensive income by component. In addition, entities are required to present, either on the face of the statement where net income is presented or in the notes, significant amounts reclassified out of accumulated other comprehensive income by the respective line items of net income but only if the amount reclassified is required under GAAP to be reclassified to net income in its entirety in the same reporting period. For other amounts that are not required under GAAP to be reclassified in their entirety to net income, entities are required to cross-reference to other disclosures required under GAAP that provide additional detail on these amounts. This guidance was adopted for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 , and required additional disclosures but did not have an impact on our consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows. (See Note 11. Reclassifications Out of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income.)

ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
11


NOTE 2.  BUSINESS SEGMENTS

Regulated Operations includes our regulated utilities, Minnesota Power and SWL&P, as well as our investment in ATC, a Wisconsin-based regulated utility that owns and maintains electric transmission assets in parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. Investments and Other is comprised primarily of BNI Coal, our coal mining operations in North Dakota, ALLETE Properties, our Florida real estate investment, and ALLETE Clean Energy, our business aimed at developing or acquiring capital projects that create energy solutions via wind, solar, biomass, midstream gas and oil infrastructure, among other energy related projects. This segment also includes other business development and corporate expenditures, a small amount of non-rate base generation, approximately 6,000 acres of land in Minnesota, and earnings on cash and investments.

 
Consolidated
 
Regulated Operations
 
Investments and Other
Millions
 
 
 
 
 
For the Quarter Ended March 31, 2013
 
 
 
 
 
Operating Revenue

$263.8

 

$241.4

 

$22.4

Fuel and Purchased Power Expense
86.5

 
86.5

 

Operating and Maintenance Expense
104.7

 
82.2

 
22.5

Depreciation Expense
28.2

 
26.8

 
1.4

Operating Income (Loss)
44.4

 
45.9

 
(1.5
)
Interest Expense
(12.3
)
 
(10.7
)
 
(1.6
)
Equity Earnings in ATC
5.2

 
5.2

 

Other Income
2.7

 
1.1

 
1.6

Income (Loss) Before Income Taxes
40.0

 
41.5

 
(1.5
)
Income Tax Expense (Benefit)
7.5

 
9.4

 
(1.9
)
Net Income

$32.5

 

$32.1

 

$0.4

 
 
 
 
 
 
As of March 31, 2013
 
 
 
 
 
Total Assets

$3,251.3

 

$2,967.9

 

$283.4

Property, Plant and Equipment – Net

$2,366.7

 

$2,300.8

 

$65.9

Accumulated Depreciation

$1,179.8

 

$1,121.8

 

$58.0

Capital Additions

$43.1

 

$42.6

 

$0.5



ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
12


NOTE 2.  BUSINESS SEGMENTS (Continued)

 
Consolidated
 
Regulated Operations
 
Investments and Other
Millions
 
 
 
 
 
For the Quarter Ended March 31, 2012
 
 
 
 
 
Operating Revenue

$240.0

 

$218.6

 

$21.4

Fuel and Purchased Power Expense
77.1

 
77.1

 

Operating and Maintenance Expense
99.9

 
78.1

 
21.8

Depreciation Expense
24.6

 
23.2

 
1.4

Operating Income (Loss)
38.4

 
40.2

 
(1.8
)
Interest Expense
(11.0
)
 
(9.6
)
 
(1.4
)
Equity Earnings in ATC
4.6

 
4.6

 

Other Income (Expense)
0.7

 
0.8

 
(0.1
)
Income (Loss) Before Income Taxes
32.7

 
36.0

 
(3.3
)
Income Tax Expense (Benefit)
8.3

 
11.6

 
(3.3
)
Net Income

$24.4

 

$24.4

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
As of March 31, 2012
 

 
 

 
 

Total Assets

$2,906.6

 

$2,586.4

 

$320.2

Property, Plant and Equipment – Net

$2,002.8

 

$1,945.6

 

$57.2

Accumulated Depreciation

$1,099.0

 

$1,045.9

 

$53.1

Capital Additions

$39.7

 

$38.7

 

$1.0



NOTE 3.  INVESTMENTS

Investments. Our long-term investment portfolio includes the real estate assets of ALLETE Properties, debt and equity securities consisting primarily of securities held in other postretirement plans to fund employee benefits, the cash equivalents within these plans, and other assets consisting primarily of land in Minnesota.

Other Investments
March 31,
2013

 
December 31,
2012

Millions
 
 
 
ALLETE Properties

$91.1

 

$91.1

Available-for-sale Securities
20.1

 
26.8

Cash Equivalents
22.7

 
20.7

Other
4.7

 
4.9

Total Other Investments

$138.6

 

$143.5


ALLETE Properties
March 31,
2013

 
December 31,
2012

Millions
 
 
 
Land Inventory Beginning Balance

$86.5

 

$86.0

Deeds to Collateralized Property

 
0.5

Cost of Sales

 
(0.2
)
Capitalized Improvements and Other
0.1

 
0.2

Land Inventory Ending Balance
86.6

 
86.5

Long-Term Finance Receivables (net of allowances of $0.6 and $0.6)
1.4

 
1.4

Other
3.1

 
3.2

Total Real Estate Assets

$91.1

 

$91.1


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
13



NOTE 3.  INVESTMENTS (Continued)

Land Inventory.  Land inventory is accounted for as held for use and is recorded at cost, unless the carrying value is determined not to be recoverable in accordance with the accounting standards for property, plant and equipment, in which case the land inventory is written down to fair value. Land values are reviewed for impairment on a quarterly basis and no impairments were recorded for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 ( none for the year ended December 31, 2012 ).

Long-Term Finance Receivables. As of March 31, 2013 , long-term finance receivables were $1.4 million net of allowance ( $1.4 million net of allowance as of December 31, 2012 ). Long-term finance receivables are collateralized by property sold, accrue interest at market-based rates and are net of an allowance for doubtful accounts. As of March 31, 2013 , we had an allowance for doubtful accounts of $0.6 million ( $0.6 million as of December 31, 2012 ).


NOTE 4. DERIVATIVES

During the third quarter of 2011, we entered into a variable-to-fixed interest rate swap (Swap), designated as a cash flow hedge, in order to manage the interest rate risk associated with a $75.0 million Term Loan. The Term Loan has a variable interest rate equal to the one-month LIBOR plus 1.00 percent , has a maturity of August 25, 2014, and represents approximately 8 percent of the Company’s outstanding long-term debt as of March 31, 2013 . (See Note 8. Short-Term and Long-Term Debt.) The Swap agreement has a notional amount equal to the underlying debt principal and matures on August 25, 2014. The Swap agreement involves the receipt of variable rate amounts in exchange for fixed rate interest payments over the life of the agreement without an exchange of the underlying notional amount. The variable rate of the Swap is equal to the one-month LIBOR and the fixed rate is equal to 0.825 percent . Cash flows from the interest rate swap are expected to be highly effective in offsetting the variable interest expense of the debt attributable to fluctuations in the one-month LIBOR interest rate over the life of the Swap. If it is determined that a derivative is not or has ceased to be effective as a hedge, the Company prospectively discontinues hedge accounting with respect to that derivative. The shortcut method is used to assess hedge effectiveness. At inception, all shortcut method requirements were satisfied; thus changes in the value of the Swap are deemed 100 percent effective. As a result, there was no ineffectiveness recorded for the quarter ended March 31, 2013. The mark-to-market fluctuation on the cash flow hedge was recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income on the Consolidated Balance Sheet. As of March 31, 2013 , the fair value of the Swap was a $0.6 million liability (a $0.7 million liability as of December 31, 2012 ) and is included in other non-current liabilities on the Consolidated Balance Sheet. Cash flows from derivative activities are presented in the same category as the item being hedged on the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows. Amounts recorded in other comprehensive income related to cash flow hedges will be recognized in earnings when the hedged transactions occur or when it is probable that the hedged transactions will not occur. Gains or losses on interest rate hedging transactions are reflected as a component of interest expense on the Consolidated Statement of Income.


NOTE 5. FAIR VALUE

Fair value is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date (exit price). We utilize market data or assumptions that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability, including assumptions about risk and the risks inherent in the inputs to the valuation technique. These inputs can be readily observable, market corroborated or generally unobservable. We primarily apply the market approach for recurring fair value measurements and endeavor to utilize the best available information. Accordingly, we utilize valuation techniques that maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs. These inputs, which are used to measure fair value, are prioritized through the fair value hierarchy. The hierarchy gives the highest priority to unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities (Level 1 measurement) and the lowest priority to unobservable inputs (Level 3 measurement). Descriptions of the three levels of the fair value hierarchy are discussed in Note 9. Fair Value to the consolidated financial statements in our 2012 Form 10-K.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
14


NOTE 5. FAIR VALUE (Continued)

The following tables set forth by level within the fair value hierarchy our assets and liabilities that were accounted for at fair value on a recurring basis as of March 31, 2013 and December 31, 2012 . Each asset and liability is classified based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. Our assessment of the significance of a particular input to the fair value measurement requires judgment and may affect the valuation of these assets and liabilities and their placement within the fair value hierarchy levels. The estimated fair value of cash and cash equivalents listed on the Consolidated Balance Sheet approximates the carrying amount and therefore are excluded from the recurring fair value measures in the tables below.

 
Fair Value as of March 31, 2013
Recurring Fair Value Measures
Level 1
 
Level 2
 
Level 3
 
Total
Millions
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Assets:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Investments
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Available-for-sale – Equity Securities

$11.4

 

 

 

$11.4

Available-for-sale – Corporate Debt Securities

 

$8.7

 

 
8.7

Cash Equivalents
22.7

 

 

 
22.7

Total Fair Value of Assets

$34.1

 

$8.7

 

 

$42.8

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Liabilities:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Deferred Compensation

 

$14.4

 

 

$14.4

Derivatives – Interest Rate Swap

 
0.6

 

 
0.6

Total Fair Value of Liabilities

 

$15.0

 

 

$15.0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total Net Fair Value of Assets (Liabilities)

$34.1

 
$(6.3)
 

 

$27.8


 
Fair Value as of December 31, 2012
Recurring Fair Value Measures
Level 1
 
Level 2
 
Level 3
 
Total
Millions
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Assets:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Investments
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Available-for-sale – Equity Securities

$18.0

 

 

 

$18.0

Available-for-sale – Corporate Debt Securities

 

$8.8

 

 
8.8

Cash Equivalents
20.7

 

 

 
20.7

Total Fair Value of Assets

$38.7

 

$8.8

 

 

$47.5

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Liabilities:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Deferred Compensation

 

$14.0

 

 

$14.0

Derivatives – Interest Rate Swap

 
0.7

 

 
0.7

Total Fair Value of Liabilities

 

$14.7

 

 

$14.7

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total Net Fair Value of Assets (Liabilities)

$38.7

 
$(5.9)
 

 

$32.8


There was no activity in Level 3 during the quarters ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 .

The Company’s policy is to recognize transfers in and transfers out as of the actual date of the event or of the change in circumstances that caused the transfer. For the quarters ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 , there were no transfers in or out of Levels 1, 2 or 3.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
15


NOTE 5. FAIR VALUE (Continued)

Fair Value of Financial Instruments. With the exception of the item listed in the table below, the estimated fair value of all financial instruments approximates the carrying amount. The fair value for the item listed below was based on quoted market prices for the same or similar instruments (Level 2).

Financial Instruments
Carrying Amount
 
Fair Value
Millions
 
 
 
Long-Term Debt, Including Current Portion
 
 
 
March 31, 2013
$1,016.3
 
$1,073.3
December 31, 2012
$1,018.1
 
$1,143.7


NOTE 6.  REGULATORY MATTERS

Electric Rates. Entities within our Regulated Operations segment file for periodic rate revisions with the MPUC, the FERC or the PSCW.

2010 Minnesota Rate Case. Minnesota Power’s current retail rates are based on a 2011 MPUC retail rate order, effective June 1, 2011, that allows for a 10.38 percent return on common equity and a 54.29 percent equity ratio.

In February 2011, Minnesota Power appealed the MPUC’s interim rate decision in the Company’s 2010 rate case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The Company appealed the MPUC’s finding of exigent circumstances in the interim rate decision with the primary arguments being that the MPUC exceeded its statutory authority, made its decision without the support of a body of record evidence and that the decision violated public policy. The Company desires to resolve whether the MPUC’s finding of exigent circumstances was lawful for application in future rate cases. In December 2011, the Minnesota Court of Appeals concluded that the MPUC did not err in finding exigent circumstances and properly exercised its discretion in setting interim rates. In January 2012, the Company filed a petition for review at the Minnesota Supreme Court (Court). In February 2012, the Court granted the petition for review and oral arguments were held before the Court in October 2012. A decision is expected in the second quarter of 2013. We cannot predict the outcome at this time.

FERC-Approved Wholesale Rates. Minnesota Power’s non-affiliated municipal customers consist of 16 municipalities in Minnesota and 1 private utility in Wisconsin. SWL&P, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ALLETE, is also a private utility in Wisconsin and a customer of Minnesota Power. Minnesota Power’s formula-based contract with the City of Nashwauk is effective April 1, 2013 through June 30, 2024, and the restated formula-based contracts with the remaining 15 Minnesota municipal customers and SWL&P are effective through June 30, 2019. The rates included in these contracts are set each July 1 based on a cost-based formula methodology, using estimated costs and a rate of return that is equal to our authorized rate of return for Minnesota retail customers (currently 10.38 percent ). The cost-based formula methodology also provides for a yearly true-up calculation for actual costs incurred. The contract terms include a termination clause requiring a three -year notice to terminate. Under the City of Nashwauk contract, no termination notice may be given prior to July 1, 2021. Under the restated contracts, no termination notices may be given prior to June 30, 2016. A two -year cancellation notice is required for the one private non-affiliated utility in Wisconsin, and on December 31, 2011, this customer submitted a cancellation notice with termination effective on December 31, 2013. The power provided to this customer is expected to be used to supply power for prospective additional retail and municipal load.

2012 Wisconsin Rate Case.   SWL&P’s 2013 retail rates are based on a 2012 PSCW retail rate order, effective January 1, 2013, that allows for a 10.9 percent return on common equity. The new rates reflect an average overall increase of 2.4 percent for retail customers (a 13.8 percent increase in water rates, a 1.2 percent increase in electric rates, and a 0.2 percent decrease in natural gas rates). On an annualized basis, the rate increase will generate approximately $1.7 million in additional revenue.

Transmission Cost Recovery Riders. Minnesota Power has an approved cost recovery rider in place for certain transmission investments and expenditures. The continued use of the 2009 billing factor was approved by the MPUC in May 2011, which allows Minnesota Power to charge retail customers on a current basis for the costs of constructing certain transmission facilities plus a return on the capital invested. In June 2011, Minnesota Power filed an updated billing factor that includes additional transmission expenditures, which is expected to be approved in mid-2013.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
16


NOTE 6. REGULATORY MATTERS (Continued)

Renewable Cost Recovery Riders. The Bison Wind Energy Center in North Dakota consists of 292 MW of nameplate capacity and was completed in various phases through 2012. Customer billing rates for Bison were approved by the MPUC in a November 2011 order and are based on investments and expenditures through that period. Minnesota Power anticipates filing a cost recovery petition with the MPUC in the second quarter of 2013 t o update customer billing rates for subsequent investments and expenditures since 2011.

Rapids Energy Center. In December 2012, Minnesota Power filed with the MPUC for approval to transfer the assets of Rapids Energy Center from non-rate base generation to Minnesota Power’s Regulated Operations. Rapids Energy Center is a generation facility that is located at the UPM, Blandin Paper Mill (Blandin). Minnesota Power and Blandin entered into a new electric service agreement in September 2012 which is also subject to MPUC approval. We expect a decision from the MPUC on these filings in late 2013.

ALLETE Clean Energy. In August 2011, the Company filed with the MPUC for approval of certain affiliated interest agreements between ALLETE and ALLETE Clean Energy. These agreements relate to various relationships with ALLETE, including the accounting for certain shared services, as well as the transfer of transmission and wind development rights in North Dakota to ALLETE Clean Energy. These transmission and wind development rights are separate and distinct from those needed by Minnesota Power to meet Minnesota’s renewable energy standard requirements. In July 2012, the MPUC issued an order approving certain administrative items related to accounting for shared services and the transfer of meteorological towers, while deferring decisions related to transmission and wind development rights pending the MPUC’s further review of Minnesota Power’s future retail electric service needs.

Integrated Resource Plan . In May 2011, the MPUC issued its final order approving our 2010 Integrated Resource Plan. As a condition of the final order, a required baseload diversification study evaluating the impact of additional environmental regulations over the next two decades was filed in February 2012. Minnesota Power’s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan, filed on March 1, 2013, details our “EnergyForward” strategic plan and includes an analysis of a variety of existing and future energy resource alternatives and a projection of customer cost impact by class. A decision by the MPUC on this plan is expected in late 2013.

Boswell Mercury Emissions Reduction Plan. Minnesota Power is required to implement a mercury emissions reduction project for Boswell Unit 4 under the Minnesota Mercury Emissions Reduction Act and the Federal MATS rule. In August 2012, Minnesota Power filed its mercury emissions reduction plan for Boswell Unit 4 with the MPUC and the MPCA. The plan proposes that Minnesota Power install pollution controls by early 2016 to address both the Minnesota mercury emissions reduction requirements and the Federal MATS rule. Costs to implement the Boswell Unit 4 mercury emissions reduction plan are included in the estimated capital expenditures required for compliance with the MATS rule and are estimated to be between $350 million and $400 million . The MPCA issued its report on March 1, 2013 in support of the Boswell Unit 4 mercury emissions reduction plan stating that the plan is appropriate for accomplishing the objectives of reducing emissions of mercury and other pollutants under the Minnesota Statutes and recommended that the MPUC accept the report’s findings. We expect a decision by the MPUC on the plan in the third quarter of 2013. Upon approval by the MPUC, we anticipate filing a petition to include investments and expenditures in customer billing rates.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA). In March 2010, the PPACA was signed into law. One of the provisions changed the tax treatment for retiree prescription drug expenses by eliminating the tax deduction for expenses that are reimbursed under Medicare Part D, beginning January 1, 2013. Based on this provision, we are subject to additional taxes in the future and were required to reverse previously recorded tax benefits which resulted in a non-recurring charge to net income of $4.0 million in 2010. In October 2010, we submitted a filing with the MPUC requesting deferral of the retail portion of the tax charge taken in 2010 resulting from the PPACA. In May 2011, the MPUC approved our request for deferral until the next rate case and as a result we recorded an income tax benefit of $2.9 million and a related regulatory asset of $5.0 million in the second quarter of 2011.

Regulatory Assets and Liabilities. Our regulated utility operations are subject to the accounting guidance for Regulated Operations. We capitalize incurred costs which are probable of recovery in future utility rates as regulatory assets. Regulatory liabilities   represent amounts expected to be refunded or credited to customers in rates. No regulatory assets or liabilities are currently earning a return.




ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
17


NOTE 6. REGULATORY MATTERS (Continued)

Regulatory Assets and Liabilities
March 31,
2013

 
December 31,
2012

Millions
 
 
 
Current Regulatory Assets (a)
 
 
 
Deferred Fuel

$18.5

 

$22.5

Total Current Regulatory Assets
18.5

 
22.5

Non-Current Regulatory Assets
 
 
 
Future Benefit Obligations Under
 
 
 
Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Benefit Plans
256.1

 
260.7

Income Taxes
34.5

 
36.0

Asset Retirement Obligation
12.8

 
12.1

Cost Recovery Riders (b)
24.1

 
18.5

PPACA Income Tax Deferral
5.0

 
5.0

Conservation Improvement Program
0.4

 
4.3

Other
3.7

 
3.7

Total Non-Current Regulatory Assets
336.6

 
340.3

 
 
 
 
Total Regulatory Assets

$355.1

 

$362.8

 
 
 
 
Non-Current Regulatory Liabilities
 
 
 
Income Taxes

$18.3

 

$19.5

Plant Removal Obligations
18.6

 
18.1

Wholesale and Retail Contra AFUDC
16.0

 
15.5

Other
6.3

 
7.0

Total Non-Current Regulatory Liabilities

$59.2

 

$60.1

(a)
Current regulatory assets are included in prepayments and other on the Consolidated Balance Sheet.
(b)
The cost recovery rider regulatory asset is primarily due to capital expenditures related to our Bison Wind Energy Center.


NOTE 7.  INVESTMENT IN ATC

Our wholly-owned subsidiary, Rainy River Energy, owns approximately 8 percent of ATC, a Wisconsin-based utility that owns and maintains electric transmission assets in parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. ATC rates are FERC-approved and are based on a 12.2 percent return on common equity dedicated to utility plant. We account for our investment in ATC under the equity method of accounting. As of March 31, 2013 , our equity investment in ATC was $109.0 million ( $107.3 million at December 31, 2012 ). In the first quarter of 2013 , we invested $0.4 million in ATC, and on April 29, 2013 , we invested an additional $1.2 million . We expect to make additional investments of approximately $1.5 million in 2013 .

ALLETE’s Investment in ATC
 
Millions
 
Equity Investment Balance as of December 31, 2012

$107.3

Cash Investments
0.4

Equity in ATC Earnings
5.2

Distributed ATC Earnings
(3.9
)
Equity Investment Balance as of March 31, 2013

$109.0



ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
18


NOTE 7.  INVESTMENT IN ATC (Continued)

ATC’s summarized financial data for the quarters ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 , is as follows:
 
Quarter Ended
ATC Summarized Financial Data
March 31,
Income Statement Data
2013
 
2012
Millions
 
 
 
Revenue

$151.8

 
$147.7
Operating Expense
69.8

 
69.6
Other Expense
21.5

 
20.0
Net Income
$60.5
 
$58.1
ALLETE’s Equity in Net Income

$5.2

 
$4.6


NOTE 8.  SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM DEBT

Short-Term Debt. As of March 31, 2013 , total short-term debt outstanding was $41.2 million ( $84.5 million as of December 31, 2012 ) and consisted of long-term debt due within one year. Short-term debt as of December 31, 2012 included $60.0 million of long-term debt that matured in April 2013. At March 31, 2013 , this debt was classified as long-term debt consistent with the accounting guidance for short-term debt expected to be refinanced.

Long-Term Debt. As of March 31, 2013 , total long-term debt outstanding was $975.1 million ( $933.6 million as of December 31, 2012 ).

On April 2, 2013, we issued $150.0 million of the Company’s First Mortgage Bonds (Bonds) in the private placement market in three series as follows:
Maturity Date
Principal Amount
Interest Rate
April 15, 2018
$50 Million
1.83%
October 15, 2028
$40 Million
3.30%
October 15, 2043
$60 Million
4.21%

We have the option to prepay all or a portion of the 1.83 percent Bonds at our discretion at any time, subject to a make-whole provision. We have the option to prepay all or a portion of the 3.30 percent Bonds at our discretion at any time prior to April 15, 2028, subject to a make-whole provision, and at any time on or after April 15, 2028, at par, including, in each case, accrued and unpaid interest. We also have the option to prepay all or a portion of the 4.21 percent Bonds at our discretion at any time prior to April 15, 2043, subject to a make-whole provision, and at any time on or after April 15, 2043, at par, including, in each case, accrued and unpaid interest. The Bonds are subject to additional terms and conditions of our utility mortgage. Proceeds from the sale of the Bonds will be used to fund utility capital investments, repay debt, and/or for general corporate purposes. The Bonds were sold in reliance on an exemption from registration under Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, to certain institutional accredited investors in a private placement.

Financial Covenants. Our long-term debt arrangements contain customary covenants. In addition, our lines of credit and letters of credit supporting certain long-term debt arrangements contain financial covenants. Our compliance with financial covenants is not dependent on debt ratings. The most restrictive financial covenant requires ALLETE to maintain a ratio of Indebtedness to Total Capitalization (as the amounts are calculated in accordance with the respective long-term debt arrangements) of less than or equal to 0.65 to 1.00 , measured quarterly. As of March 31, 2013 , our ratio was approximately 0.45 to 1.00 . Failure to meet this covenant would give rise to an event of default if not cured after notice from a lender, in which event ALLETE may need to pursue alternative sources of funding. Some of ALLETE’s debt arrangements contain “cross-default” provisions that would result in an event of default if there is a failure under other financing arrangements to meet payment terms or to observe other covenants that would result in an acceleration of payments due. As of March 31, 2013 , ALLETE was in compliance with its financial covenants.



ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
19


NOTE 9.  OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE)

 
 
Quarter Ended
 
 
March 31,
 
 
2013
 
2012
Millions
 
 
 
 
AFUDC – Equity
 

$1.1

 

$0.8

Gain on Sale of Available-for-sale Securities
 
0.8

 

Investments and Other Income (Expense)
 
0.8

 
(0.1
)
Total Other Income
 

$2.7

 

$0.7



NOTE 10.  INCOME TAX EXPENSE
 
 
Quarter Ended
 
 
March 31,
 
 
2013
 
2012
Millions
 
 
 
 
Current Tax Expense
 
 
 
 
Federal (a)
 

$0.2

 

State (a)
 

 

Total Current Tax Expense
 
0.2

 

Deferred Tax Expense (Benefit)
 
 
 
 
Federal
 
5.8

 

$8.7

State (b)
 
(0.5
)
 
(0.8
)
Change in Valuation Allowance (c)
 
2.2

 
0.6

Investment Tax Credit Amortization
 
(0.2
)
 
(0.2
)
Total Deferred Tax Expense
 
7.3

 
8.3

Total Income Tax Expense
 

$7.5

 

$8.3

(a)
For the quarter ended March 31, 2013 , the federal and state current tax expense of $0.2 million and zero , respectively, ( zero and zero for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 ) is due to net operating losses (NOLs) which resulted primarily from the bonus depreciation provision of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 and the Tax Relief Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010. The 2013 and 2012 federal and state NOLs will be carried forward to offset future taxable income.
(b)
For the quarters ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 , the state deferred tax benefits of $0.5 million and $0.8 million , respectively, are primarily due to state renewable tax credits earned which will be carried forward to offset future state tax expense.
(c)
For the quarters ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 , the change in the valuation allowance is due to state renewable tax credits earned in 2013 and 2012 which are not expected to be utilized within their allowable tax carryforward period.

For the quarter ended March 31, 2013 , the effective tax rate was 18.8 percent ( 25.4 percent for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 ). The decrease from the effective tax rate for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 , was primarily due to increased federal production tax credits. The effective tax rate deviated from the statutory rate of approximately 41 percent primarily due to deductions for AFUDC ‑ Equity, investment tax credits, federal production tax credits, state income tax credits and depletion.
 
Uncertain Tax Positions. As of March 31, 2013 , we had gross unrecognized tax benefits of $2.6 million ( $2.7 million as of December 31, 2012 ). Of the total gross unrecognized tax benefits, $0.7 million represents the amount of unrecognized tax benefits included in the Consolidated Balance Sheet, that, if recognized, would favorably impact the effective income tax rate.

ALLETE’s IRS exam for tax years 2005 through 2009 is currently under review at the IRS appeals office. We expect the IRS appeals process to be completed during the next twelve months, resulting in the reversal of substantially all of the unrecognized tax benefits as of March 31, 2013 . The unrecognized tax benefits are primarily due to tax positions which are timing in nature and therefore would have an immaterial impact on our effective tax rate if recognized.

ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
20




NOTE 11. RECLASSIFICATIONS OUT OF ACCUMULATED OTHER COMPREHENSIVE INCOME (LOSS)

Changes in Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss by Component
For the Quarter Ended March 31, 2013
Unrealized Gains and Losses on Available-for-sale Securities (a)
Defined Benefit Pension, Other Postretirement Items (a)
Gains and Losses on Cash Flow Hedge (a),   (b)
Total (a)
Millions
 
 
 
 
Beginning Balance
$(0.1)
$(21.5)
$(0.4)
$(22.0)
Other Comprehensive Income (Loss) Before Reclassifications
0.5

(2.9
)
0.1

(2.3
)
Amounts Reclassified From Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss
(0.5
)
3.2


2.7

Net Other Comprehensive Income

0.3

0.1

0.4

Ending Balance
$(0.1)
$(21.2)
$(0.3)
$(21.6)
(a)
Amounts shown are net of tax.
(b)
There were no amounts reclassified from accumulated other comprehensive loss related to the cash flow hedge.

Reclassifications Out of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss
Details About Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss Components
Amount Reclassified from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss (a)
 
Affected Income Statement Line Item
Millions
 
 
 
For the Quarter Ended March 31, 2013
 
 
 
Unrealized Gains on Available-for-sale Securities

$0.8

 
Other Income (Expense) - Other
 
(0.3
)
 
Income Tax Expense
 

$0.5

 
 
 
 
 
 
Amortization of Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Items
 
 
 
Prior Service Costs

$0.5

 
(b)
Actuarial Gains and Losses
(5.7
)
 
(b)
 
(5.2
)
 
 
 
2.0

 
Income Tax Expense
 
$(3.2)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total Reclassifications
$(2.7)
 
 
(a)
Amounts in parentheses indicate charges to net income.
(b)
These components of accumulated other comprehensive loss are included in the computation of net pension and other postretirement benefit expense. (See Note 13. Pension and Other Postretirement Benefit Plans.)



ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
21


NOTE 12.  EARNINGS PER SHARE AND COMMON STOCK

The difference between basic and diluted earnings per share, if any, arises from outstanding stock options, non-vested restricted stock, and performance share awards granted under our Executive Long-Term Incentive Compensation Plan. For the quarters ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 , 0.1 million and 0.2 million options to purchase shares of common stock, respectively, were excluded from the computation of diluted earnings per share because the option exercise prices were greater than the average market prices; therefore, their effect would have been anti-dilutive.

 
 
 
2013
 
 
 
 
 
2012
 
 
Reconciliation of Basic and Diluted
 
 
Dilutive
 
 
 
 
 
Dilutive
 
 
Earnings Per Share
Basic
 
Securities
 
Diluted
 
Basic
 
Securities
 
Diluted
Millions Except Per Share Amounts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For the Quarter Ended March 31,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net Income

$32.5

 
 
 

$32.5

 

$24.4

 
 
 

$24.4

Average Common Shares
38.9

 
0.1

 
39.0

 
36.8

 
0.1

 
36.9

Earnings Per Share

$0.83

 
 
 

$0.83

 

$0.66

 
 
 

$0.66



NOTE 13.  PENSION AND OTHER POSTRETIREMENT BENEFIT PLANS

 
Pension
 
Other
Postretirement
Components of Net Periodic Benefit Expense
2013
 
2012
 
2013
 
2012
Millions
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For the Quarter Ended March 31,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Service Cost

$2.5

 

$2.3

 

$1.0

 

$1.0

Interest Cost
6.5

 
6.6

 
1.7

 
2.4

Expected Return on Plan Assets
(8.8
)
 
(8.8
)
 
(2.5
)
 
(2.5
)
Amortization of Prior Service Costs
0.1

 
0.1

 
(0.6
)
 
(0.4
)
Amortization of Net Loss
5.3

 
4.3

 
0.4

 
1.9

Net Periodic Benefit Expense

$5.6

 

$4.5

 

 

$2.4


Employer Contributions. For the quarter ended March 31, 2013 , no contributions were made to our defined benefit pension plan ( none for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 ). For the quarter ended March 31, 2013 , we contributed $10.8 million to our other postretirement benefit plan ( none for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 ). We do not expect to contribute to our defined benefit pension plan in 2013 , and we do not expect to make any additional contributions to our other postretirement benefit plan in 2013 .


NOTE 14.  COMMITMENTS, GUARANTEES AND CONTINGENCIES

Power Purchase Agreements. Our long-term PPAs have been evaluated under the accounting guidance for variable interest entities. We have determined that either we have no variable interest in the PPAs, or where we do have variable interests, we are not the primary beneficiary; therefore, consolidation is not required. These conclusions are based on the fact that we do not have both control over activities that are most significant to the entity and an obligation to absorb losses or receive benefits from the entity’s performance. Our financial exposure relating to these PPAs is limited to our capacity and energy payments.

Square Butte PPA. Minnesota Power has a PPA with Square Butte that extends through 2026 (Agreement). It provides a long-term supply of energy to customers in our electric service territory and enables Minnesota Power to meet reserve requirements. Square Butte, a North Dakota cooperative corporation, owns a 455 MW coal-fired generating unit (Unit) near Center, North Dakota. The Unit is adjacent to a generating unit owned by Minnkota Power, a North Dakota cooperative corporation whose Class A members are also members of Square Butte. Minnkota Power serves as the operator of the Unit and also purchases power from Square Butte.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
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NOTE 14.  COMMITMENTS, GUARANTEES AND CONTINGENCIES (Continued)
Power Purchase Agreements (Continued)

Minnesota Power is obligated to pay its pro rata share of Square Butte’s costs based on Minnesota Power’s entitlement to Unit output. Our output entitlement under the Agreement is 50 percent for the remainder of the contract, subject to the provisions of the Minnkota Power sales agreement described below. Minnesota Power’s payment obligation will be suspended if Square Butte fails to deliver any power, whether produced or purchased, for a period of one year. Square Butte’s costs consist primarily of debt service, operating and maintenance, depreciation and fuel expenses. As of March 31, 2013 , Square Butte had total debt outstanding of $406.0 million . Annual debt service for Square Butte is expected to be approximately $44 million in each of the next five years, 2013 through 2017 , of which Minnesota Power’s obligation is 50 percent . Fuel expenses are recoverable through our fuel adjustment clause and include the cost of coal purchased from BNI Coal, under a long-term contract.

Minnesota Power’s cost of power purchased from Square Butte during the quarter ended March 31, 2013 was $16.3 million ( $15.9 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 ). This reflects Minnesota Power’s pro rata share of total Square Butte costs based on the 50  percent output entitlement. Included in this amount was Minnesota Power’s pro rata share of interest expense of $2.6 million during the quarter ended March 31, 2013 ( $2.7 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 ). Minnesota Power’s payments to Square Butte are approved as a purchased power expense for ratemaking purposes by both the MPUC and the FERC.

Minnkota Power Sales Agreement. In December 2009, Minnesota Power entered into a power sales agreement with Minnkota Power. Under the power sales agreement, Minnesota Power will sell a portion of its output from Square Butte to Minnkota Power, resulting in Minnkota Power’s net entitlement increasing and Minnesota Power’s net entitlement decreasing until Minnesota Power’s share is eliminated at the end of 2025.

No power will be sold under the 2009 agreement until Minnkota Power has placed in service a new AC transmission line, which is anticipated to occur by the end of 2013. This new AC transmission line will allow Minnkota Power to transmit its entitlement from Square Butte directly to its customers, which in turn will enable Minnesota Power the ability to transmit additional wind generation on the existing DC transmission line.

Minnkota Power PPA. In December 2012, Minnesota Power entered into a long-term PPA with Minnkota Power. Under this agreement Minnesota Power will purchase 50 MW of capacity and the energy associated with that capacity over the term June 1, 2016 through May 31, 2020. The agreement includes a fixed capacity charge and energy pricing that escalates at a fixed rate annually over the term.

Oliver Wind I and II PPAs. In 2006 and 2007, Minnesota Power entered into two long-term wind PPAs with an affiliate of NextEra Energy, Inc. to purchase the output from Oliver Wind I ( 50 MW) and Oliver Wind II ( 48 MW)—wind facilities located near Center, North Dakota. Each agreement is for 25 years and provides for the purchase of all output from the facilities at fixed energy prices. There are no fixed capacity charges and we only pay for energy as it is delivered to us.

Manitoba Hydro PPAs. Minnesota Power has a long-term PPA with Manitoba Hydro that expires in April 2015. Under this agreement Minnesota Power is purchasing 50 MW of capacity and the energy associated with that capacity. Both the capacity price and the energy price are adjusted annually by the change in a governmental inflationary index.

Minnesota Power has a separate long-term PPA with Manitoba Hydro to purchase surplus energy through April 2022. This energy-only agreement primarily consists of surplus hydro energy on Manitoba Hydro’s system that is delivered to Minnesota Power on a non-firm basis. The pricing is based on forward market prices. Under this agreement, Minnesota Power will purchase at least one million MWh of energy over the contract term.

In May 2011, Minnesota Power and Manitoba Hydro signed an additional long-term PPA. The PPA calls for Manitoba Hydro to sell 250  MW of capacity and energy to Minnesota Power for 15 years beginning in 2020 and is subject to construction of additional transmission capacity between Manitoba and Minnesota’s Iron Range, along with construction of new hydroelectric generating capacity in Manitoba. The capacity price is adjusted annually until 2020 by a change in a governmental inflationary index. The energy price is based on a formula that includes an annual fixed price component adjusted for changes in a governmental inflationary index, a natural gas index, and market prices.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
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NOTE 14.  COMMITMENTS, GUARANTEES AND CONTINGENCIES (Continued)
Power Purchase Agreements (Continued)

In February 2012, Minnesota Power and Manitoba Hydro proposed construction of the Great Northern Transmission Line, a 500  kV transmission line between Manitoba and Minnesota’s Iron Range in order to strengthen the electric grid, enhance regional reliability and promote a greater exchange of sustainable energy, which is targeted to be in service in 2020. Total project cost and cost allocations are still to be determined. The Great Northern Transmission Line is subject to various federal and state regulatory approvals. In addition, Manitoba Hydro must obtain regulatory and governmental approvals related to new transmission lines and hydroelectric generation development in Canada.

Coal, Rail and Shipping Contracts. We have coal supply agreements providing for the purchase of a significant portion of our coal requirements with expiration dates through 2014. We also have coal transportation agreements in place for the delivery of a significant portion of our coal requirements with expiration dates through 2015. Our minimum annual payment obligation under these supply and transportation agreements is $36.8 million for the remainder of 2013 and $1.3 million for 2014 . Our minimum annual payment obligation will increase when annual nominations are made for coal deliveries in future years. The delivered costs of fuel for Minnesota Power’s generation are recoverable from Minnesota Power’s utility customers through the fuel adjustment clause.

Leasing Agreements. BNI Coal is obligated to make lease payments for a dragline totaling $2.8 million annually for the lease term, which expires in 2027. BNI Coal has the option at the end of the lease term to renew the lease at fair market value, to purchase the dragline at fair market value, or to surrender the dragline and pay a $3.0 million termination fee. We also lease other properties and equipment under operating lease agreements with terms expiring through 2016. The aggregate amount of minimum lease payments for all operating leases is $11.5 million in 2013 , $11.7 million in 2014 , $11.4 million in 2015 , $9.3 million in 2016 , $8.5 million in 2017 and $35.0 million thereafter.

Transmission . We continue to make investments in Upper Midwest transmission opportunities that strengthen or enhance the regional transmission grid. This includes the CapX2020 initiative, investments in our own transmission assets, investments in other regional transmission assets (individually or in combination with others), and our investment in ATC.

CapX2020. Minnesota Power is a participant in the CapX2020 initiative which represents an effort to ensure electric transmission and distribution reliability in Minnesota and the surrounding region for the future. CapX2020, which consists of electric cooperatives, municipal and investor-owned utilities, including Minnesota’s largest transmission owners, has assessed the transmission system and projected growth in customer demand for electricity through 2020. Studies show that the region’s transmission system will require major upgrades and expansion to accommodate increased electricity demand as well as support renewable energy expansion through 2020.

Minnesota Power is participating in three CapX2020 projects: the Fargo, North Dakota to St. Cloud, Minnesota project, the Monticello, Minnesota to St. Cloud, Minnesota project, which together total a 238 -mile, 345 kV line from Fargo, North Dakota to Monticello, Minnesota, and the 70 -mile, 230 kV line between Bemidji, Minnesota and Minnesota Power’s Boswell Energy Center near Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The 28 -mile 345 kV line between Monticello and St. Cloud was placed into service in December 2011 and the 70 -mile 230 kV line between Bemidji, Minnesota and Minnesota Power’s Boswell Energy Center near Grand Rapids, Minnesota was placed into service in September 2012. In June 2011, the MPUC approved the route permit for the Minnesota portion of the Fargo to St. Cloud project. The North Dakota permitting process was completed in August 2012. The entire 238 -mile, 345 kV line from Fargo to Monticello is expected to be in service by 2015.

Based on projected costs of the three transmission lines and the allocation agreements among participating utilities, Minnesota Power plans to invest between $100 million and $110 million in the CapX2020 initiative through 2015. A total of $53.5 million was spent through March 31, 2013 , of which $42.6 million related to the Fargo, North Dakota to Monticello, Minnesota projects and $10.9 million related to the Bemidji, Minnesota to Minnesota Power’s Boswell Energy Center project ( $48.2 million as of December 31, 2012 of which $37.3 million related to the Fargo, North Dakota to Monticello, Minnesota projects and $10.9 million related to the Bemidji, Minnesota to Minnesota Power’s Boswell Energy Center project). As future CapX2020 projects are identified, Minnesota Power may elect to participate on a project-by-project basis.




ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
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NOTE 14. COMMITMENTS, GUARANTEES AND CONTINGENCIES (Continued)

Environmental Matters

Our businesses are subject to regulation of environmental matters by various federal, state and local authorities. Currently, a number of regulatory changes to the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and various waste management requirements are under consideration by both Congress and the EPA. Minnesota Power’s fossil fuel facilities will likely be subject to regulation under these proposals. Our intention is to reduce our exposure to these requirements by reshaping our generation portfolio over time to reduce our reliance on coal.

We consider our businesses to be in substantial compliance with currently applicable environmental regulations and believe all necessary permits to conduct such operations have been obtained. Due to expected future restrictive environmental requirements imposed through legislation and/or rulemaking, we anticipate that potential expenditures for environmental matters will be material and will require significant capital investments. Minnesota Power has evaluated various environmental compliance scenarios using possible ranges of future environmental regulations to project power supply trends and impacts on customers.

We review environmental matters on a quarterly basis. Accruals for environmental matters are recorded when it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of the liability can be reasonably estimated, based on current law and existing technologies. Accruals are adjusted as assessment and remediation efforts progress or as additional technical or legal information becomes available. Accruals for environmental liabilities are included in the Consolidated Balance Sheet at undiscounted amounts and exclude claims for recoveries from insurance or other third parties. Costs related to environmental contamination treatment and cleanup are charged to expense unless recoverable in rates from customers.

Air. The electric utility industry is heavily regulated both at the federal and state level to address air emissions. Minnesota Power’s generating facilities mainly burn low-sulfur western sub-bituminous coal. All of Minnesota Power’s coal-fired generating facilities are equipped with pollution control equipment such as scrubbers, bag houses and low NO X technologies. Under currently applicable environmental regulations, these facilities are substantially compliant with applicable emission requirements.

New Source Review (NSR) . In August 2008, Minnesota Power received a Notice of Violation (NOV) from the EPA asserting violations of the NSR requirements of the Clean Air Act at Boswell Units 1, 2, 3 and 4 and Laskin Unit 2. The NOV asserts that seven projects undertaken at these coal-fired plants between the years 1981 and 2000 should have been reviewed under the NSR requirements and that the Boswell Unit 4 Title V permit was violated. In April 2011, Minnesota Power received a NOV alleging that two projects undertaken at Rapids Energy Center in 2004 and 2005 should have been reviewed under the NSR requirements and that the Rapids Energy Center’s Title V permit was violated. Minnesota Power believes the projects specified in the NOVs were in full compliance with the Clean Air Act, NSR requirements and applicable permits. Resolution of the NOVs could result in civil penalties, which we do not believe will be material to our results of operations, and the installation of additional pollution control equipment, some of which is already planned or which has been completed to comply with other regulatory requirements. We are engaged in discussions with the EPA regarding resolution of these matters, but we are unable to estimate the expenditures, or range of expenditures that may be required upon resolution. Any costs of installing additional pollution control equipment would likely be eligible for recovery in rates over time subject to regulatory approval in a rate proceeding.

Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) . In July 2011, the EPA issued the CSAPR, which replaced the EPA’s 2005 CAIR. However, in August 2012, a three judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the CSAPR, ordering that the CAIR remain in effect while a CSAPR replacement rule is promulgated. On March 29, 2013, the EPA petitioned the Supreme Court to review the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether it will grant review. If reinstated after Supreme Court review, the CSAPR would require states in the CSAPR region, including Minnesota, to significantly improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions that contribute to ozone and/or fine particle pollution in other states. The CSAPR would not directly require the installation of controls. Instead, the rule would require facilities to have sufficient emission allowances to cover their emissions on an annual basis. These allowances would be allocated to facilities from each state’s annual budget and could be bought and sold.

The CAIR regulations similarly require certain states to improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions that contribute to ozone and/or fine particle pollution in other states. The CAIR also created an allowance allocation and trading program rather than specifying pollution controls. Minnesota participation in the CAIR was stayed by EPA administrative action while the EPA completed a review of air quality modeling issues in conjunction with the development of a final replacement rule. While the CAIR remains in effect, Minnesota participation in the CAIR will continue to be stayed. It remains uncertain if emission restrictions similar to those contained in the CSAPR will become effective for Minnesota utilities due to the August 2012 District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals decision.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
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NOTE 14. COMMITMENTS, GUARANTEES AND CONTINGENCIES (Continued)
Environmental Matters (Continued)

Since 2006, we have significantly reduced emissions at our Laskin, Taconite Harbor and Boswell generating units. Based on our expected generation, these emission reductions would have satisfied Minnesota Power’s SO 2 and NO X emission compliance obligations with respect to the EPA-allocated CSAPR allowances for 2013. We are unable to predict any additional compliance costs we might incur if the CSAPR is reinstated or if a CSAPR replacement rule is promulgated.

Regional Haze . The federal Regional Haze Rule requires states to submit SIPs to the EPA to address regional haze visibility impairment in 156 federally-protected parks and wilderness areas. Under the first phase of the Regional Haze Rule, certain large stationary sources, put in place between 1962 and 1977, with emissions contributing to visibility impairment, are required to install emission controls, known as Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART). We have two steam units, Boswell Unit 3 and Taconite Harbor Unit 3, subject to BART requirements.

The MPCA requested that companies with BART-eligible units complete and submit a BART emissions control retrofit study, which was completed for Taconite Harbor Unit 3 in November 2008. The retrofit work completed in 2009 at Boswell Unit 3 meets the BART requirements for that unit. In December 2009, the MPCA approved the Minnesota SIP for submittal to the EPA for its review and approval. The Minnesota SIP incorporates information from the BART emissions control retrofit studies that were completed as requested by the MPCA.

In December 2011, the EPA published in the Federal Register a proposal to approve the trading program in the CSAPR as an alternative to determining BART. However, as a result of the August 2012 District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals decision to vacate the CSAPR (See CSAPR ), Minnesota Power is now evaluating whether significant additional expenditures at Taconite Harbor Unit 3 will be required to comply with BART requirements under the Regional Haze Rule. If additional regional haze related controls are ultimately required, Minnesota Power will have up to five years from the final rule promulgation date to bring Taconite Harbor Unit 3 into compliance with the Regional Haze Rule requirements. It is uncertain what controls would ultimately be required at Taconite Harbor Unit 3 under this scenario. On January 30, 2013, Minnesota Power announced “EnergyForward”, a strategic plan for assuring reliability, protecting affordability and further improving environmental performance. The plan includes retiring Taconite Harbor Unit 3 in 2015, subject to MPUC approval.

Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) Rule (formerly known as the Electric Generating Unit Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Rule). Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to set emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) for certain source categories. The EPA published the final MATS rule in the Federal Register in February 2012, addressing such emissions from coal-fired utility units greater than 25 MW. There are currently 187 listed HAPs that the EPA is required to evaluate for establishment of MACT standards. In the final MATS rule, the EPA established categories of HAPs, including mercury, trace metals other than mercury, acid gases, dioxin/furans, and organics other than dioxin/furans. The EPA also established emission limits for the first three categories of HAPs, and work practice standards for the remaining categories. Affected sources must be in compliance with the rule by April 2015. States have the authority to grant sources a one-year extension. Minnesota Power was notified by the MPCA that they have approved Minnesota Power’s request of an additional year extending the date of compliance for the Boswell Unit 4 retrofit to April 1, 2016. Compliance at our Boswell Unit 4 to address the final MATS rule is expected to result in capital expenditures totaling between $350 million and $400 million through 2016. Our “EnergyForward” plan also includes the conversion of Laskin Units 1 and 2 to natural gas in 2015, addressing the MATS requirements.

EPA National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters . In March 2011, a final rule was published in the Federal Register for Industrial Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (Industrial Boiler MACT). The rule was stayed by the EPA in May 2011, to allow the EPA time to consider additional comments received. The EPA re-proposed the rule in December 2011. In January 2012, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the EPA stay of the Industrial Boiler MACT was unlawful, effectively reinstating the March 2011 rule and associated compliance deadlines. A final rule based on the December 2011 proposal, which supersedes the March 2011 rule, was released in December 2012. Major sources have three years to achieve compliance with the final rule. Minnesota Power is in the process of assessing the impact of this rule on our affected units including Hibbard and Rapids Energy Center. Costs for complying with the final rule cannot be estimated at this time.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
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NOTE 14. COMMITMENTS, GUARANTEES AND CONTINGENCIES (Continued)
Environmental Matters (Continued)

Minnesota Mercury Emissions Reduction Act . Under the 2006 Minnesota Mercury Emissions Reduction Act, Minnesota Power is required to implement a mercury emissions reduction project for Boswell Unit 4 by December 31, 2018. In August 2012, Minnesota Power filed its mercury emissions reduction plan for Boswell Unit 4 with the MPUC and the MPCA. The plan proposes that Minnesota Power install pollution controls to address both the Minnesota mercury emissions reduction requirements and the MATS rule, which also regulates mercury emissions. Minnesota Power’s request of an additional year extending the date of compliance for the Boswell Unit 4 retrofit to April 1, 2016, was approved by the MPCA. Costs to implement the Boswell Unit 4 mercury emissions reduction plan are included in the estimated capital expenditures required for compliance with the MATS rule discussed above.

Proposed and Finalized National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The EPA is required to review the NAAQS every five years. If the EPA determines that a state’s air quality is not in compliance with NAAQS, the state is required to adopt plans describing how it will reduce emissions to attain the NAAQS. These state plans often include more stringent air emission limitations on sources of air pollutants than the NAAQS. Four NAAQS have either recently been revised or are currently proposed for revision, as described below.

Ozone NAAQS. The EPA has proposed to more stringently control emissions that result in ground level ozone. In January 2010, the EPA proposed to revise the 2008 eight-hour ozone standard and to adopt a secondary standard for the protection of sensitive vegetation from ozone-related damage. The EPA was scheduled to decide upon the 2008 eight-hour ozone standard in July 2011, but has since announced that it is deferring revision of this standard until the second half of 2013.

Particulate Matter NAAQS. The EPA finalized the NAAQS Particulate Matter standards in September 2006. Since then, the EPA has established a more stringent 24-hour average fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 ) standard; the annual PM 2.5 standard and the 24-hour coarse particulate matter standard have remained unchanged. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit remanded the annual PM 2.5 standard to the EPA, requiring consideration of lower annual standard values. The EPA proposed new PM 2.5 standards in June 2012.

In December 2012, the EPA confirmed in a final rule that the current annual PM 2.5 standard, which has been in place since 1997, will be lowered, while retaining the current 24-hour PM 2.5 standard. To implement the new lower annual PM 2.5 standard, the EPA is also revising aspects of relevant monitoring, designations and permitting requirements. New projects and permits must comply with the new lower standard, and compliance with the NAAQS at the facility level is generally demonstrated by modeling. To bridge the transition to the lower standard, the EPA is finalizing a grandfathering provision to ensure that projects and pending permits already underway are not unduly delayed.

Under the final rule, states will be responsible for additional PM 2.5 monitoring, which will likely be accomplished by relocation or repurposing of existing monitors. States are expected to propose attainment designations by December 2013, based on already available monitoring data. The EPA believes that most U.S. counties currently already meet the new standard and plans to finalize designations of attainment by December 2014. For those counties that the EPA does not designate as having already met the requirements of the new standard, specific dates for required attainment will depend on technology availability, state permitting goals, potential legal challenges and other factors.

SO 2 and NO 2 NAAQS. During 2010, the EPA finalized new one-hour NAAQS for SO 2 and NO 2 . Ambient monitoring data indicates that Minnesota will likely be in compliance with these new standards; however, the one-hour SO 2 NAAQS also require the EPA to evaluate modeling data to determine attainment. The EPA has notified states that their SIPs for attainment of the standard will be required to be submitted to the EPA for approval by June 2013 but will not be required to include the evaluation of modeling data until 2017.

In late 2011, the MPCA initiated modeling activities that included approximately 65 sources within Minnesota that emit greater than 100 tons of SO 2 per year. However, in April 2012, the MPCA notified Minnesota Power that such modeling had been suspended as a result of the EPA’s announcement that the June 2013 SIP submittals would no longer require modeling demonstrations for states, such as Minnesota, where ambient monitors indicate compliance with the new standard. The MPCA is awaiting updated EPA guidance and will communicate with affected sources once the MPCA has more information on how the state will meet the EPA’s SIP requirements. Currently, compliance with these new NAAQS is expected to be required as early as 2017. The costs for complying with the final standards cannot be estimated at this time.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
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NOTE 14. COMMITMENTS, GUARANTEES AND CONTINGENCIES (Continued)
Environmental Matters (Continued)

Climate Change. The scientific community generally accepts that emissions of GHGs are linked to global climate change. Climate change creates physical and financial risks. Physical risks could include, but are not limited to: increased or decreased precipitation and water levels in lakes and rivers; increased temperatures; and changes in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. These all have the potential to affect the Company’s business and operations. We are addressing climate change by taking the following steps that also ensure reliable and environmentally compliant generation resources to meet our customers’ requirements:

Expanding our renewable energy supply;
Providing energy conservation initiatives for our customers and engaging in other demand side efforts;
Supporting research of technologies to reduce carbon emissions from generation facilities and carbon sequestration efforts; and
Evaluating and developing less carbon intensive future generating assets such as efficient and flexible natural gas generating facilities.

EPA Regulation of GHG Emissions.  In May 2010, the EPA issued the final Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule (Tailoring Rule). The Tailoring Rule establishes permitting thresholds required to address GHG emissions for new facilities, existing facilities that undergo major modifications and other facilities characterized as major sources under the Clean Air Act’s Title V program. For our existing facilities, the rule does not require amending our existing Title V operating permits to include GHG requirements. However, GHG requirements are likely to be added to our existing Title V operating permits by the MPCA as these permits are renewed or amended.

In late 2010, the EPA issued guidance to permitting authorities and affected sources to facilitate incorporation of the Tailoring Rule permitting requirements into the Title V and PSD permitting programs. The guidance stated that the project-specific, top-down BACT determination process used for other pollutants will also be used to determine BACT for GHG emissions. Through sector-specific white papers, the EPA also provided examples and technical summaries of GHG emission control technologies and techniques the EPA considers available or likely to be available to sources. It is possible that these control technologies could be determined to be BACT on a project-by-project basis.

In March 2012, the EPA announced its proposed rule to apply CO 2 emission New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) to new fossil fuel-fired electric generating units. The proposed NSPS apply only to new or re-powered units and were open for public comment through June 25, 2012. It is anticipated that the EPA will issue NSPS for existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units in the future. We cannot predict what CO 2 control measures, if any, may be required by such NSPS.

Legal challenges have been filed with respect to the EPA’s regulation of GHG emissions, including the Tailoring Rule. On June 26, 2012, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia upheld most of the EPA’s proposed regulations, including the Tailoring Rule criteria, finding that the Clean Air Act compels the EPA to regulate in the manner the EPA proposed. Comments on the permitting guidance were submitted by Minnesota Power and others and may be addressed by the EPA in the form of revised guidance documents.

We are unable to predict the GHG emission compliance costs we might incur; however, the costs could be material. We would seek recovery of any additional costs through cost recovery riders or in a general rate case.

Water. The Clean Water Act requires NPDES permits be obtained from the EPA (or, when delegated, from individual state pollution control agencies) for any wastewater discharged into navigable waters. We have obtained all necessary NPDES permits, including NPDES storm water permits for applicable facilities, to conduct our operations.

Clean Water Act - Aquatic Organisms. In April 2011, the EPA published in the Federal Register proposed regulations under Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act that set standards applicable to cooling water intake structures for the protection of aquatic organisms. The proposed regulations would require existing large power plants and manufacturing facilities that withdraw greater than 25 percent of water from adjacent water bodies for cooling purposes, and have a design intake flow of greater than 2 million gallons per day, to limit the number of aquatic organisms that are killed when they are pinned against the facility’s intake structure or that are drawn into the facility’s cooling system. The Section 316(b) standards would be implemented through NPDES permits issued to the covered facilities. The Section 316(b) proposed rule comment period ended in August 2011 and the EPA is obligated to finalize the rule by June 27, 2013. We are unable to predict the compliance costs we might incur under the final rule; however, the costs could be material. We would seek recovery of any additional costs through cost recovery riders or in a general rate case.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
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NOTE 14. COMMITMENTS, GUARANTEES AND CONTINGENCIES (Continued)
Environmental Matters (Continued)

Steam Electric Power Generating Effluent Guidelines.  In late 2009, the EPA announced that it would be reviewing and reissuing the federal effluent guidelines for steam electric power generating stations under the Clean Water Act. On April 19, 2013, the EPA announced proposed revisions to those federal effluent guidelines. Instead of proposing a single rule, the EPA has proposed eight “options,” of which four are “preferred”. The proposed revisions would set limits on the level of toxic materials in wastewater discharged from seven waste streams: flue gas desulfurization wastewater, fly ash transport water, bottom ash transport water, combustion residual leachate, non-chemical metal cleaning wastes, coal gasification wastewater, and wastewater from flue gas mercury control systems. As part of this proposed rulemaking, the EPA is considering imposing rules to address “legacy” wastewater currently residing in ponds as well as rules to impose stringent best management practices for discharges from active coal combustion residual surface impoundments. The EPA’s proposed rulemaking would base effluent limitations on what can be achieved by available technologies. Compliance with the final rule would be required no later than July 1, 2022. We are reviewing the proposed rule and evaluating its potential impacts on our operations. It is expected that the EPA will issue a final rule in 2014. We are unable to predict the compliance costs we might incur related to these or other potential future water discharge regulations; however, the costs could be material, including costs associated with retrofits for bottom ash handling, pond dewatering, pond closure, and wastewater treatment and/or reuse. We would seek recovery of any additional costs through cost recovery riders or in a general rate case.

Solid and Hazardous Waste. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 regulates the management and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes. We are required to notify the EPA of hazardous waste activity and, consequently, routinely submit the necessary reports to the EPA.

Coal Ash Management Facilities . Minnesota Power generates coal ash at all five of its coal-fired electric generating facilities. Two facilities store ash in onsite impoundments (ash ponds) with engineered liners and containment dikes. Another facility stores dry ash in a landfill with an engineered liner and leachate collection system. Two facilities generate a combined wood and coal ash that is either land applied as an approved beneficial use or trucked to state permitted landfills. In June 2010, the EPA proposed regulations for coal combustion residuals generated by the electric utility sector. The proposal sought comments on three general regulatory schemes for coal ash. Comments on the proposed rule were due in November 2010. It is estimated that the final rule will be published in late 2013 or early 2014. We are unable to predict the compliance costs we might incur; however, the costs could be material. We would seek recovery of any additional costs through cost recovery riders or in a general rate case.


Other Matters

BNI Coal. As of March 31, 2013 , BNI Coal had surety bonds outstanding of $29.7 million related to the reclamation liability for closing costs associated with its mine and mine facilities. Although the coal supply agreements obligate the customers to provide for the closing costs, additional assurance is required by federal and state regulations. In addition to the surety bonds, BNI Coal has secured a letter of credit with CoBANK ACB for an additional $2.6 million to provide for BNI Coal’s total reclamation liability, which is currently estimated at $32.3 million . BNI Coal does not believe it is likely that any of these outstanding surety bonds or the letter of credit will be drawn upon.

ALLETE Properties. As of March 31, 2013 , ALLETE Properties, through its subsidiaries, had surety bonds outstanding and letters of credit to governmental entities totaling $10.2 million primarily related to development and maintenance obligations for various projects. The estimated cost of the remaining development work is approximately $7.4 million , of which $0.6 million is the contractual obligation of land purchasers. ALLETE Properties does not believe it is likely that any of these outstanding surety bonds or letters of credit will be drawn upon.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
29


NOTE 14. COMMITMENTS, GUARANTEES AND CONTINGENCIES (Continued)
Other Matters (Continued)

Community Development District Obligations. In March 2005, the Town Center District issued $26.4 million of tax-exempt, 6  percent capital improvement revenue bonds and in May 2006, the Palm Coast Park District issued $31.8 million of tax-exempt, 5.7 percent special assessment bonds. The capital improvement revenue bonds and the special assessment bonds are payable over 31 years (by May 1, 2036 and 2037, respectively) and are secured by special assessments on the benefited land. The bond proceeds were used to pay for the construction of a portion of the major infrastructure improvements in each district and to mitigate traffic and environmental impacts. The assessments were billed to the landowners beginning in November 2006 for Town Center and November 2007 for Palm Coast Park. To the extent that we still own land at the time of the assessment, we will incur the cost of our portion of these assessments, based upon our ownership of benefited property. At March 31, 2013 , we owned 73 percent of the assessable land in the Town Center District ( 73 percent at December 31, 2012 ) and 93 percent of the assessable land in the Palm Coast Park District ( 93 percent at December 31, 2012 ). At these ownership levels, our annual assessments are approximately $1.4 million for Town Center and $2.1 million for Palm Coast Park. As we sell property, the obligation to pay special assessments will pass to the new landowners. In accordance with accounting guidance, these bonds are not reflected as debt on our Consolidated Balance Sheet.

Legal Proceedings. In January 2011, the Company was named as a defendant in a lawsuit in the Sixth Judicial District for the State of Minnesota by one of our customer’s (United Taconite, LLC) property and business interruption insurers. In October 2006, United Taconite experienced a fire as a result of the failure of certain electrical protective equipment. The equipment at issue in the incident was not owned, designed, or installed by Minnesota Power, but Minnesota Power had provided testing and calibration services related to the equipment. The lawsuit alleges approximately $20.0 million in damages related to the fire. The Company believes that it has strong defenses to the lawsuit and intends to vigorously assert such defenses. An accrual related to any damages that may result from the lawsuit has not been recorded as of March 31, 2013 , because a potential loss is not currently probable or reasonably estimable; however, the Company believes it has adequate insurance limits for any potential loss. Our insurance carrier is providing a defense subject to a reservation of rights as to certain claims.

Other. We are involved in litigation arising in the normal course of business. Also in the normal course of business, we are involved in tax, regulatory and other governmental audits, inspections, investigations and other proceedings that involve state and federal taxes, safety, and compliance with regulations, rate base and cost of service issues, among other things. While the resolution of such matters could have a material effect on our results of operations and cash flows in the year of resolution, none of these matters are expected to materially change our present liquidity position, or have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.


ITEM 2. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL
CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

OVERVIEW

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements, notes to those statements, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations from the 2012 Form 10-K and the other financial information appearing elsewhere in this report. In addition to historical information, the following discussion and other parts of this Form 10-Q contain forward-looking information that involves risks and uncertainties. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements should be read in conjunction with our disclosures in this Form 10-Q under the heading “Forward-Looking Statements” located on page 5 and “Risk Factors” located in Part I, Item 1A, beginning on page 27 of our 2012 Form 10‑K. The risks and uncertainties described in this Form 10-Q and our 2012 Form 10-K are not the only risks facing our Company. Additional risks and uncertainties that we are not presently aware of, or that we currently consider immaterial, may also affect our business operations. Our business, financial condition or results of operations could suffer if the risks set forth are realized.

Regulated Operations includes our regulated utilities, Minnesota Power and SWL&P, as well as our investment in ATC, a Wisconsin-based regulated utility that owns and maintains electric transmission assets in parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. Minnesota Power provides regulated utility electric service in northeastern Minnesota to approximately 143,000 retail customers. Minnesota Power’s non-affiliated municipal customers consist of 16 municipalities in Minnesota and 1 private utility in Wisconsin. SWL&P is also a private utility in Wisconsin and a customer of Minnesota Power. SWL&P provides regulated electric, natural gas and water service in northwestern Wisconsin to approximately 15,000 electric customers, 12,000 natural gas customers and 10,000 water customers. Our regulated utility operations include retail and wholesale activities under the jurisdiction of state and federal regulatory authorities .


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
30


OVERVIEW (Continued)

Investments and Other is comprised primarily of BNI Coal, our coal mining operations in North Dakota, ALLETE Properties, our Florida real estate investment, and ALLETE Clean Energy, our business aimed at developing or acquiring capital projects that create energy solutions via wind, solar, biomass, midstream gas and oil infrastructure, among other energy related projects. This segment also includes other business development and corporate expenditures, a small amount of non-rate base generation, approximately 6,000  acres of land in Minnesota, and earnings on cash and investments.

ALLETE is incorporated under the laws of Minnesota. Our corporate headquarters are in Duluth, Minnesota. Statistical information is presented as of March 31, 2013 , unless otherwise indicated. All subsidiaries are wholly-owned unless otherwise specifically indicated. References in this report to “we,” “us” and “our” are to ALLETE and its subsidiaries, collectively.


Financial Overview

The following net income discussion summarizes a comparison of the quarter ended March 31, 2013 , to the quarter ended March 31, 2012 .

Net income for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 , was $32.5 million , or $0.83 per diluted share, compared to $24.4 million , or $0.66 per diluted share, for the same period of 2012 . Net income for 2013 reflected higher kilowatt-hour sales, cost recovery rider revenue and federal production tax credits. These increases were partially offset by increased operating and maintenance, depreciation and interest expenses. Earnings per share dilution was $0.05 as a result of additional shares of common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2013 .

Regulated Operations net income was $32.1 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 , compared to $24.4 million for the same period of 2012 . Net income for 2013 reflected higher kilowatt-hour sales, cost recovery rider revenue and federal production tax credits. These increases were partially offset by increased operating and maintenance, depreciation and interest expenses.

Investments and Other net income was $0.4 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 , compared to no net income for the same period of 2012 . The increase in 2013 was primarily due to a gain on sale of available-for-sale securities.


COMPARISON OF THE QUARTERS ENDED MARCH 31, 2013 AND 2012

(See Note 2. Business Segments for financial results by segment.)

Regulated Operations

Operating revenue increased $22.8 million , or 10 percent , from 2012 primarily due to higher fuel adjustment clause recoveries, higher cost recovery rider revenue, a 3.1 percent increase in kilowatt-hours sold, higher municipal rates, and higher gas sales.

Fuel adjustment clause recoveries increased $7.2 million from 2012 due to higher fuel and purchased power costs attributable to our retail and municipal customers. ( See Operating Expenses - Fuel and Purchased Power Expense. )

Cost recovery rider revenue increased $4.9 million from 2012 as our Bison Wind Energy Center was completed in various phases through 2012 and in service for the full first quarter of 2013. Also contributing to the increase were higher capital expenditures related to our CapX2020 projects.

Revenue from Regulated Operations increased $5.3 million from 2012 due to a 3.1 percent increase in kilowatt-hour sales. The increase in kilowatt-hour sales was due to higher sales to residential, commercial and municipal customers as the first quarter of 2012 had unseasonably warm weather; in 2013, heating degree days in Duluth, Minnesota were approximately 27 percent higher than the same period in 2012. Total kilowatt-hour sales to Other Power Suppliers increased 14.3 percent from 2012. Sales to Other Power Suppliers are sold at market-based prices into the MISO market on a daily basis or through bilateral agreements of various durations.

Revenue from our municipal customers increased $1.3 million from 2012 due to higher rates under the cost-based formula primarily due to higher capital expenditures.



ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
31


COMPARISON OF THE QUARTERS ENDED MARCH 31, 2013 AND 2012 (Continued)
Regulated Operations (Continued)

Gas sales at SWL&P increased $1.9 million from 2012 as a result of the unseasonably warm weather during the first quarter of 2012. (See Operating Expenses - Operating and Maintenance Expense .)

Kilowatt-hours Sold
 
 
 
 
Quantity
 
%
Quarter Ended March 31,
2013
 
2012
 
Variance
 
Variance
Millions
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regulated Utility
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Retail and Municipals
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Residential
354

 
326

 
28

 
8.6
 %
Commercial
377

 
364

 
13

 
3.6
 %
Industrial
1,845

 
1,868

 
(23
)
 
(1.2
)%
Municipals
274

 
264

 
10

 
3.8
 %
Total Retail and Municipals
2,850

 
2,822

 
28

 
1.0
 %
Other Power Suppliers
591

 
517

 
74

 
14.3
 %
Total Regulated Utility Kilowatt-hours Sold
3,441

 
3,339

 
102

 
3.1
 %

Revenue from electric sales to taconite customers accounted for 25 percent of consolidated operating revenue in 2013 ( 26  percent in 2012 ). Revenue from electric sales to paper and pulp mills accounted for 8 percent of consolidated operating revenue in 2013 ( 8 percent in 2012 ). Revenue from electric sales to pipelines and other industrials accounted for 6  percent of consolidated operating revenue in 2013 ( 7 percent in 2012 ).
 
Operating expenses increased $17.1 million , or 10 percent , from 2012 .

Fuel and Purchased Power Expense increased $9.4 million , or 12 percent , from 2012 due to an increase in kilowatt-hours sold and higher purchased power prices. Fuel and purchased power expense related to our retail and municipal customers is recovered through the fuel adjustment clause. (See Operating Revenue .)

Operating and Maintenance Expense increased $4.1 million , or 5 percent , from 2012 primarily due to higher purchased gas and property tax expenses. Purchased gas expenses increased due to higher gas sales in 2013 as a result of the unseasonably warm weather during the first quarter of 2012; purchased gas costs are recovered through a purchased gas adjustment clause from customers (see Operating Revenue ). Property tax expenses increased primarily due to higher taxable plant and rates.

Depreciation Expense increased $3.6 million , or 16 percent , from 2012 reflecting additional property, plant and equipment in service.

Interest expense increased $1.1 million , or 11 percent , from 2012 primarily due to higher average long-term debt balances.

Income tax expense decreased $2.2 million , or 19 percent , from 2012 , primarily due to higher federal production tax credits in 2013 as our Bison Wind Energy Center was completed in December 2012 and in service for the full first quarter of 2013.

Investments and Other

Operating revenue increased $1.0 million , or 5 percent , from 2012 primarily due to a $0.8 million increase in revenue at BNI Coal. BNI Coal, which operates under a cost plus fixed fee contract, recorded higher revenue as a result of higher expenses in 2013 . (See Operating Expense .)
ALLETE Properties
2013
 
2012
Revenue and Sales Activity
Acres (a)
 
Amount
 
Acres (a)
 
Amount
Dollars in Millions
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenue from Land Sales
19

 

$0.1

 

 

Other Revenue
 
 
0.2

 
 
 

$0.1

Total ALLETE Properties Revenue
 
 

$0.3

 
 
 

$0.1

(a)    Acreage amounts are shown on a gross basis, including wetlands.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
32


COMPARISON OF THE QUARTERS ENDED MARCH 31, 2013 AND 2012 (Continued)
Investments and Other (Continued)

Operating expenses increased $0.7 million , or 3 percent , from 2012 reflecting higher exp enses at BNI Coal of $1.0 million primarily due to higher fuel costs and labor, which are recovered through the cost-plus contract. (See Operating Revenue .)

Other income increased $1.7 million from 2012 primarily due to a gain on sale of available-for-sale securities.

Income tax benefits decreased $1.4 million from 2012 primarily due to higher state tax expense. State income tax expense was higher in 2013 as more North Dakota income tax credits attributable to our North Dakota capital investments were recognized in 2012.

Income Taxes – Consolidated

For the quarter ended March 31, 2013 , the effective tax rate was 18.8 percent ( 25.4 percent for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 ). The decrease from the effective tax rate for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 , was primarily due to increased federal production tax credits in 2013. The effective tax rate deviated from the statutory rate of approximately 41 percent primarily due to deductions for AFUDC - Equity, investment tax credits, federal production tax credits, state income tax credits and depletion. (See Note 10. Income Tax Expense.)


CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Certain accounting measurements under GAAP involve management’s judgment about subjective factors and estimates, the effects of which are inherently uncertain. Accounting measurements that we believe are most critical to our reported results of operations and financial condition include: regulatory accounting, pension and postretirement health and life actuarial assumptions, impairment of long-lived assets and taxation. These policies are reviewed with the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors on a regular basis and summarized in Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of our 2012 Form 10-K.


OUTLOOK

For additional information see our 2012 Form 10-K.

ALLETE is an energy company committed to earning a financial return that rewards our shareholders, allows for reinvestment in our businesses and sustains growth. The Company has a key long-term objective of achieving minimum average earnings per share growth of 5 percent per year (using 2010 as a base year) and maintaining a competitive dividend payout. To accomplish this, Minnesota Power will continue to pursue customer growth opportunities and cost recovery rider approval for environmental, renewable and transmission investments, as well as work with legislators and regulators to earn a fair rate of return. In addition, ALLETE expects to pursue new energy-centric initiatives that provide long-term earnings growth potential, while at the same time reduce our exposure to industrial electricity sales. The new energy-centric pursuits will be in renewable energy, transmission and other energy-related infrastructure or infrastructure services.

We believe that, over the long-term, less carbon intensive and more sustainable energy sources will play an increasingly important role in our nation’s energy mix. Minnesota Power has developed renewable resources which will be used to meet regulated renewable supply requirements and is considering additional investments. In addition, in June 2011, we established ALLETE Clean Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ALLETE. ALLETE Clean Energy operates independently of Minnesota Power to develop or acquire capital projects aimed at creating energy solutions via wind, solar, biomass, midstream gas and oil infrastructure, among other energy related projects. ALLETE Clean Energy intends to market to electric utilities, cooperatives, municipalities, independent power marketers and large end-users across North America through long-term contracts or other sale arrangements, and will be subject to applicable state and federal regulatory approvals. For wind development, we intend to capitalize on our existing presence in North Dakota through BNI Coal, our DC transmission line and our Bison Wind Energy Center. We have a long-term business presence and established landowner relationships in North Dakota.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
33


OUTLOOK (Continued)

We plan to make investments in transmission opportunities that strengthen or enhance the transmission grid or take advantage of our geographical location between sources of renewable energy and end users. This includes the Great Northern Transmission Line and the CapX2020 initiative, as well as investments to enhance our own transmission facilities, investments in other transmission assets (individually or in combination with others), and our investment in ATC. Transmission investments could be made by Minnesota Power or a subsidiary of ALLETE. (See Regulated Operations – Transmission .)

North American energy trends continue to evolve, and may be impacted by emerging technological, environmental, and demand changes. We believe this may create opportunity, and we are exploring investing in other energy-centric businesses related to energy infrastructure and infrastructure services. Our investment criteria focuses on investments with recurring or contractual revenues, differentiated offerings and reasonable barriers to entry. In addition, investments would typically support ALLETE’s investment grade credit metrics and dividend policy.

Regulated Operations. Minnesota Power’s long-term strategy is to be the leading electric energy provider in northeastern Minnesota by providing safe, reliable and cost-competitive electric energy, while complying with environmental permit conditions and renewable requirements. Keeping the cost of energy production competitive enables Minnesota Power to effectively compete in the wholesale power markets and minimizes retail rate increases to help maintain the viability of its customers. As part of maintaining cost competitiveness, Minnesota Power intends to reduce its exposure to possible future carbon and GHG legislation by reshaping its generation portfolio, over time, to reduce its reliance on coal. We will monitor and review proposed environmental regulations and may challenge those that add considerable cost with limited environmental benefit. Minnesota Power will continue to pursue customer growth opportunities and cost recovery rider approval for environmental, renewable and transmission investments, as well as work with legislators and regulators to earn a fair rate of return. We project that our Regulated Operations will not earn its allowed rate of return in 2013.

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The MPUC has regulatory authority over Minnesota Power’s service area in Minnesota, retail rates, retail services, capital structure, issuance of securities and other matters.

2010 Rate Case. Minnesota Power’s current retail rates are based on a 2011 MPUC retail rate order, effective June 1, 2011, that allows for a 10.38 percent return on common equity and a 54.29 percent equity ratio.

Interim Rate Appeal. In February 2011, Minnesota Power appealed the MPUC’s interim rate decision in the Company’s 2010 rate case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The Company appealed the MPUC’s finding of exigent circumstances in the interim rate decision with the primary arguments being that the MPUC exceeded its statutory authority, made its decision without the support of a body of record evidence and that the decision violated public policy. The Company desires to resolve whether the MPUC’s finding of exigent circumstances was lawful for application in future rate cases. In December 2011, the Minnesota Court of Appeals concluded that the MPUC did not err in finding exigent circumstances and properly exercised its discretion in setting interim rates. In January 2012, the Company filed a petition for review at the Minnesota Supreme Court (Court). In February 2012, the Court granted the petition for review and oral arguments were held before the Court in October 2012. A decision is expected in the second quarter of 2013. We cannot predict the outcome at this time.

Rapids Energy Center. In December 2012, Minnesota Power filed with the MPUC for approval to transfer the assets of Rapids Energy Center from non-rate base generation to Minnesota Power’s Regulated Operations. Rapids Energy Center is a generation facility that is located at the UPM, Blandin Paper Mill (Blandin). Minnesota Power and Blandin entered into a new electric service agreement in September 2012 which is also subject to MPUC approval. We expect a decision from the MPUC on these filings in late 2013.

ALLETE Clean Energy. In August 2011, the Company filed with the MPUC for approval of certain affiliated interest agreements between ALLETE and ALLETE Clean Energy. These agreements relate to various relationships with ALLETE, including the accounting for certain shared services, as well as the transfer of transmission and wind development rights in North Dakota to ALLETE Clean Energy. These transmission and wind development rights are separate and distinct from those needed by Minnesota Power to meet Minnesota’s renewable energy standard requirements. In July 2012, the MPUC issued an order approving certain administrative items related to accounting for shared services and the transfer of meteorological towers, while deferring decisions related to transmission and wind development rights pending the MPUC’s further review of Minnesota Power’s future retail electric service needs.


ALLETE First Quarter 2013 Form 10-Q
34



OUTLOOK (Continued)
Regulated Operations (Continued)

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Minnesota Power’s non-affiliated municipal customers consist of 16 municipalities in Minnesota and 1 private utility in Wisconsin. SWL&P, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ALLETE, is also a private utility in Wisconsin and a customer of Minnesota Power. Minnesota Power’s formula-based contract with the City of Nashwauk is effective April 1, 2013 through June 30, 2024, and the restated formula-based contracts with the remaining 15 Minnesota municipal customers and SWL&P are effective through June 30, 2019. The rates included in these contracts are set each July 1 based on a cost-based formula methodology, using estimated costs and a rate of return that is equal to our authorized rate of return for Minnesota retail customers (currently 10.38 percent ). The cost-based formula methodology also provides for a yearly true-up calculation for actual costs incurred. The contract terms include a termination clause requiring a three -year notice to terminate. Under the City of Nashwauk contract, no termination notice may be given prior to July 1, 2021. Under the restated contracts, no termination notices may be given prior to June 30, 2016. A two -year cancellation notice is required for the one private non-affiliated utility in Wisconsin, and on December 31, 2011, this customer submitted a cancellation notice with termination effective on December 31, 2013. The power provided to this customer is expected to be used to supply power for prospective additional retail and municipal load.

Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. SWL&P’s 2013 retail rates are based on a 2012 PSCW retail rate order, effective January 1, 2013, that allows for a 10.9 percent return on common equity. The new rates reflect an average overall increase of 2.4  percent for retail customers (a 13.8 percent increase in water rates, a 1.2 percent increase in electric rates, and a 0.2 percent decrease in natural gas rates). On an annualized basis, the rate increase will generate approximately $1.7 million in additional revenue.

Industrial Customers. Electric power is one of several key inputs in the taconite mining, iron concentrate, paper, pulp and wood products, and pipeline industries. Approximately 54 percent of our Regulated Utility kilowatt-hour sales in the quarter ended March 31, 2013 ( 56 percent in the  quarter ended March 31, 2012 ) were made to our industrial customers in these industries.

Minnesota Power provides electric service to five taconite customers capable of producing up to approximately 41 million tons of taconite pellets annually. Taconite pellets produced in Minnesota are primarily shipped to North American steel making facilities that are part of the integrated steel industry. Steel produced from these North American facilities is used primarily in the manufacture of automobiles, appliances, pipe and tube products for the gas and oil industry, and in the construction industry. Historically, less than five percent of Minnesota taconite production is exported outside of North America.

There has been a general historical correlation between U.S. steel production and Minnesota taconite production. The World Steel Association, an association of approximately 170 steel producers, national and regional steel industry associations, and steel research institutes representing around 85 percent of world steel production, projected U.S. steel consumption in 2013 will be similar to 2012. The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), an association of North American steel producers, reported that U.S. raw steel production operated at approximately 76 percent of capacity during the first quarter of 2013, compared to 79 percent in 2012. Based on this information, 2013 taconite production levels in Minnesota are expected to be similar to 2012.

Prospective Additional Load.   Minnesota Power is pursuing new wholesale and retail loads in and around its service territory. Currently, several companies in northeastern Minnesota continue to progress in the development of natural resource based projects that represent long-term growth potential and load diversity for Minnesota Power. These potential projects are in the ferrous and non-ferrous mining and steel industries and include PolyMet, Mesabi Nugget, USS Corporation’s expansion at its Keewatin taconite facility and Magnetation. We cannot predict the outcome of these projects, but if these projects are constructed, Minnesota Power could serve up to approximately 600 MW of new retail or wholesale load, which includes 110 MW related to Essar Steel Minnesota LLC (Essar). (See City o