Pike Electric (NASDAQ:PIKE) traded down sharply Tuesday after announcing worse fourth- quarter earnings from a year ago, as a lack of hurricanes and winter storms drastically impeded storm restoration revenues.

The provider of energy solutions posted a net loss of $4 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with a profit of $2.5 million, or 7 cents a share in the same quarter last year.

The results were ahead of average analyst estimates of break-even earnings, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue for the Mt. Airy, North Carolina-based company was $120.7 million, down from $128.5 million in the earlier-year quarter, and missing the Street’s view of $131.89 million.

Full-year earnings were also down from the prior year, to $504.1 million compared with $613.5 million a year ago.

The drop in earnings was due primarily to a lack of demand for storm restoration services, driven by comparably less utility damages caused by hurricanes and severe Midwestern winter storms.

Storm-related revenues were $46.6 million this year, compared with $152.9 million in the prior year period.

"While the company's 2010 financial results are disappointing, we are beginning to see some improvement,” said Pike CEO J. Eric Pike, noting the company’s engineering, substation and transmission services all saw growth.

“Our distribution customers are adding headcount for the first time in two years, which may forecast a gradual improvement in our distribution services,” he said.

Last quarter the company reduced the term portion of its debt by $26 million and acquired Klondyke Construction, which it said opens new opportunities to pursue large scale engineering, including its recent addition of international engineering, procurement and distribution construction projects in Tanzania.

Pike said despite difficult economic conditions, the company believes it is well positioned to move forward through fiscal 2011.