Xcel Energy reports strong utility results for first quarter

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., April 29, 2003 — Xcel Energy Inc.’s preliminary earnings for first quarter of 2003 were $192 million, or $0.48 per share, including results of subsidiary NRG Energy, compared with $102 million, or $0.29 per share, for the same period in 2002.

Xcel Energy’s pro-forma earnings from continuing operations, excluding NRG’s operating results and a gain on the sale of subsidiary Viking Gas Transmission Company, were $131 million, or $0.33 per share, in the first quarter of 2003, compared with $122 million, or $0.35 per share, for the same period in 2002.

For a reconciliation of the pro-forma earnings to net income on the basis of generally accepted accounting principles, see Note 1.

Total earnings increased due to discontinued operations gains related to NRG’s disposal of its Killingholme project and to the sale of Viking Gas. Earnings also increased for the first quarter of 2003, compared with the same period in 2002, due to sales growth at all four of Xcel Energy’s largest operating utilities. These increases were partially offset by significantly increased operating losses at NRG. Xcel Energy considers its and NRG’s results to be preliminary pending evaluation of a regulatory decision related to NRG (see Note 1).

“We continue to produce strong results at our utilities,” said Wayne Brunetti, Xcel Energy’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Electric utility sales growth from our retail customers and higher short-term wholesale margins were the drivers of the increase in electric utility margin in the first quarter of 2003. Our favorable utility results reinforce our belief in our business plan, and our ability to deliver on our financial commitments to our shareholders.”

Brunetti said the company requested a waiver from the Securities and Exchange Commission that would allow for declaration and payment of the first quarter dividend from paid-in capital. “I want to reassure our shareholders that it is our intent to pay the full 75 cent dividend this year.”

Xcel Energy’s preliminary earnings for the first quarter of 2003 consisted of the following components:

“- Utility earnings from continuing operations of $146 million, or $0.37 per share, compared with $136 million, or $0.38 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2002;

“- Gain on sale of Viking Gas of $21 million (net of tax), or $0.05 per share, in 2003;

“- NRG earnings of $40 million, or $0.10 per share (including discontinued operations, largely due to a $191-million gain, or about $0.48 per share, related to an asset disposal), compared with a net NRG loss of $20 million, or $0.06 per share in the first quarter of 2002; and

“- Other subsidiary losses and holding company costs of $0.04 per share, compared with a loss of $0.03 per share for the first quarter of 2002.

More information is available at www.xcelenergy.com.

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