Dominion Energy (D) announced an unaudited net income determined in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (reported earnings) for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2020, of $682 million ($0.82 per share) compared with a net gain of $1.0 billion ($1.21 per share) for the same period in 2019. Reported earnings were a net loss, for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2020, of $401 million ($0.57 per share) compared with a net gain of $1.4 billion ($1.62 per share) for the same period in 2019.
Operating earnings for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2020, were $672 million ($0.81 per share), compared with operating earnings of $852 million ($1.02 per share) for the same period in 2019. Operating earnings for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2020, were $3.0 billion ($3.54 per share) compared with operating earnings of $2.9 billion ($3.53 per share) for the same period in 2019.
The difference between GAAP and operating earnings for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2020, was primarily attributable to a net loss from discontinued operations associated with the sale of the Gas Transmission & Storage segment and the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project and charges associated with the planned early retirement of electric generation facilities in Virginia.
Operating earnings are defined as reported earnings adjusted for certain items. Details of operating earnings as compared to prior periods, business segment results and detailed descriptions of items included in reported earnings but excluded from operating earnings can be found on Schedules 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this release.
Dominion Energy expects 2021 operating earnings in the range of $3.70 to $4.00 per share.
First-quarter 2021 operating earnings are expected to be in the range of $1.00 to $1.15 per share.
Important note to investors regarding operating, reported earnings
Dominion Energy uses operating earnings as the primary performance measurement of its earnings guidance and results for public communications with analysts and investors. Dominion Energy also uses operating earnings internally for budgeting, for reporting to the Board of Directors, for the company's incentive compensation plans and for its targeted dividend payouts and other purposes. Dominion Energy management believes operating earnings provide a more meaningful representation of the company's fundamental earnings power.
In providing its operating earnings guidance, the company notes that there could be differences between expected reported earnings and estimated operating earnings for matters such as, but not limited to, acquisitions, divestitures or extreme weather events and other natural disasters. At this time, Dominion Energy management is not able to estimate the aggregate impact of these items on future period reported earnings.