Tucson-based UNS Energy Corp. posted higher first-quarter earnings today as cold weather boosted energy demand.

The parent of Tucson Electric Power Co. reported first-quarter net income of $11.3 million, or 27 cents per share, compared with earnings of $6.5 million, or 17 cents per share in the same period last year.

Total operating revenues rose 5 percent, to $332 million, as cold weather boosted demand at TEP and at UNS Gas, which provides natural gas service in Northern Arizona and Santa Cruz County.

UNS Chairman and CEO Paul Bonavia said the company is still managing cost pressures under a freeze in TEP base rates in place since late 2008.

TEP filed for higher rates last year and its request is pending before the Arizona Corporation Commission.

In February, TEP, the commission staff and several other parties entered into a rate settlement agreement that would boost TEP revenues about $76 million and allow rate adjustment-mechanisms to help TEP recover costs for state-mandated energy-efficiency programs and environmental compliance. If approved, the proposal would result in an average bill increase of less than $3 per month for a typical residential customer.

An administrative law judge is expected to issue a preliminary recommendation on the proposed agreement, which will then be subject to approval by the Corporation Commission.