RIO DE JANEIRO, May 15 (Reuters) - Cia Energetica de Minas Gerais, Brazil's second-largest utility, said on Thursday that first-quarter profit rose 44 percent compared with a year earlier as it sold more electricity to consumers at higher prices.
First-quarter consolidated net income at Cemig, as the company is known, was 1.25 billion reais ($563 million) compared with 867 million reais in the first quarter of 2013, the company said in a securities filing.
Net sales, or total sales minus sales taxes, rose 29 percent to 4.76 billion reais in the quarter. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), a measure of a comapany's ability to generate cash from operations, rose 33 percent to 2.11 billion reais.
Cemig is controlled by the government of Brazil's Minas Gerais state.
Total sales of energy jumped 11 percent in the period and the number of clients rose 3 percent compared to a year earlier, the statement said.
Energy sales were aided by hotter than normal temperatures in the quarter which boosted air-conditioning and other cooling use by residential clients, Cemig said.
Prices also rose. Cemig was granted a 2.99 percent increase in regulated residential rates and saw the price of energy on the free market rise 40 percent. Returns from spot-market operations more than doubled as a drought caused spot prices to jump to record highs.
$1 = 2.22 Brazilian reais Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Richard Pullin