Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Office and Treasurer at Eversource Energy
Thank you, Joe, and good morning, everyone. This morning, I will review our results for the first quarter of 2023, discuss our recent query in rate decision and review our most recent financing activity. I will start with slide six, our GAAP earnings were $1.41 per share in the first quarter of 2023 compared with GAAP earnings of $1.28 in the first quarter of 2022. First quarter results for 2022 include $0.02 per share impact, primarily related to the integration and transition of the acquisition of the assets of Columbia Massachusetts, now known as Eversource Gas Company of Massachusetts.
So the $1.41 per share in the first quarter of 2023 is best compared with $1.30 per share, excluding those costs in the first quarter of last year. Looking at some additional details on the first quarter earnings by segment. Our first quarter 2023 electric distribution earnings were $0.47 per share compared with $0.41 in the first quarter of 2022. Improved results were driven largely by higher revenues at NSTAR Electric. This resulted from two factors, both related to the conclusion of our rate review from last year.
The first was a base rate increase that was effective January one of this year, which provided about $0.03 per share benefit in the first quarter. The second was a rate design change that also took effect January one of this year. This design change eliminated the higher summertime demand charge. This change will have the effect of moving about $0.08 per share of after-tax revenues out of expected third quarter results and into the first quarter and the fourth quarters of this year in roughly equal $0.04 per share split.
This annual rate design change is illustrated on slide seven. Continuing with the quarterly results on slide six. The first quarter 2023 benefits from those changes and the additional distribution revenues at Connecticut Light & Power were partially offset by higher interest costs and higher depreciation as well as pension expense. Our electric transmission segment earned $0.45 per share in the first quarter of 2023 as compared with earnings of $0.43 in the first quarter of 2022. Improved results were driven by higher level of investment in our transmission facilities.
Our natural gas distribution segment earnings were $0.49 per share in the first quarter of 2023 as compared with earnings of $0.47 in the first quarter of 2022. Improved results were due primarily to higher base distribution revenues that took effect November 1, 2022 at NSTAR Gas as well as Eversource Gas Company of Massachusetts. This was partially offset by higher depreciation, interest and property tax expense related to increased investment in our natural gas delivery systems to better serve our customers.
Our first quarter water distribution segment earnings were $0.01 per share lower this year as compared to the first quarter of 2022. And this is due primarily to higher operations and maintenance costs. Eversource parent and other companies after-tax losses decreased $12.5 million in the first quarter of 2023 as compared with the first quarter of 2022, and this is due primarily to benefit from our equity investment in a renewable energy fund, partially offset by a contribution to our charitable foundation.
This resulted in a $0.03 per share benefit for the quarter. Additionally, after-tax transaction and transition costs decreased by $4.8 million in the first quarter of 2023 as compared to the same period in 2022. Those benefits were partially offset by higher parent company interest expense for a net year-over-year improvement in the payment and other of about $0.02 per share.
Overall, as you can see on our income statement, we have managed our O&M quite well in the quarter despite the storm events we experienced in March and slightly higher pension costs. Now turning to slide eight. We have -- excuse me, we are maintaining our full year guidance of $4.25 to $4.43 per share with a somewhat different quarterly earnings profile as compared to 2022. Once again, we expect that NSTAR of rate design change to add about $0.04 per share to the fourth quarter earnings as it did in the first quarter of this year, but will lower the third quarter earnings by about $0.08 per share.
Overall, the rate design changes will have no impact on the full year results. In addition to reaffirming our long-term EPS growth rate of solidly in the upper half of the 5% to 7% range, we also reaffirm our 21.5 billion, five year regulated capital program that we discussed during our fourth quarter in February earnings call. Core business, our core business capital expenditures totaled approximately $790 million in the first quarter of 2023.
As Joe noted earlier, we have changed the timing of some of our offshore wind construction costs. Previously, we have projected $1.9 billion to $2.1 billion of 2023 construction costs related to our share of our joint venture with Orsted. Now due to an expectation that the joint venture will be able to move approximately $1 billion of payments from late 2023, and to future periods, we are now expecting $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion of offshore wind related expenditures in 2023, effectively lowering our capital projection by $500 million in 2023 and raising it by $500 million over the following years.
Overall, we have made no change to the estimated cost of completing our three projects or their timetable and continue to expect South Fork to be in service later this year and for Rev Wind and Sunrise Wind to enter service in 2025. In the first quarter of 2023, our share of capital expenditures totaled about $200 million, putting our total offshore wind investment through March of this year at $2.16 billion. Moving to regulatory updates.
For the first time in a while, we currently have no active rate reviews underway and have long-term rate plans in effect for many of our utilities. In March, we received a very disappointing decision in the Aquarion Connecticut's first rate review in about 10 years. The rate decision, which ordered a $2 million reduction to Aquarion rates was not unanimous.
Two of the three commissioners commented that the 8.7% authorized return on equity provided a very negative signal for utility investment in Connecticut due to concerns with the legality of the decision and the negative long-term impact on customers we have appealed the decision to the Connecticut Superior Court, where a temporary stay is currently maintaining existing rates and preventing the rate reduction order by PURA.
The next hearing on this day is scheduled for May 15. We look forward to working through the appeal process and believe we will come to a reasonable outcome that complies with the law, is good for our customers and provides us with the opportunity to recover our cost of service, including a fair return on our investments. Turning to finance and activities.
Since our previous earnings call, we have issued $750 million of parent company debt and retired $450 million of parent debt just this week. As you can see from slide nine, we have issued no additional shares through our ATM program. But through April, we distributed approximately $400,000 of treasury shares to meet our dividend reinvestment and employee incentive programs. Finally, as some of you may know, Jeff Kotkin will be retiring from Eversource later this summer.
I want to acknowledge Jeff for his many years of outstanding service to our company, the financial community and our shareholders. I have had the pleasure of working with Jeff for more than 12 years, and I am sure you will agree he always goes the extra mile. Since the first day Jeff joined the communications department at the former Northeast Utilities, nearly 48 years -- 38 years ago, he has been an integral part of Eversource's journey contributing to the company's growth, evolution and success amidst various challenging -- challenges over the years.
Throughout it all, Jeff has delivered exceptional service to investors, been very supportive of its colleagues while providing steady guidance to senior management and our Board. It's no wonder why Jeff has been widely recognized as the best IR professional in our industry for many, many years. We are all truly thankful for his devoted service and we wish him all the best as he spends more time with his growing family, whether it be on the Connecticut shoreline or in the beaches of Hawaii.
Thank you, Jeff. And you will certainly greatly be missed.