We achieved FY19 net economic earnings of $3.73 per share, representing growth of 5.1 percent over FY18 run-rate earnings of $3.55 per share (excluding $0.17 per share of unusually strong gas marketing performance), driven by continued growth of our gas utilities.
Every year, we strive to achieve and exceed our performance goals. Because when we advance performance, we also advance people, delivering on our promises to employees, communities, shareholders and the 1.7 million homes and businesses we serve.
Spire has delivered a Total Shareholder Return of 120 percent over the last five years, exceeding the returns of 83.3 percent for the industry and the 67.3 percent for the stock market in general.
Now in service, the Spire STL Pipeline began bringing a new source of natural gas to the St. Louis region in November 2019, enhancing the diversity, reliability and resiliency of our energy supply.
Reflecting another year of solid financial performance, we generated strong cash flow from operating activities that exceeded $450 million for the second year in a row.
We increased our total capital spend by nearly two-thirds in FY19 to $823 million, including $575 million for our gas utilities. We also increased our 2019-2023 capital expenditure forecast to $3 billion, focusing on replacing older infrastructure throughout the communities we serve as well as investing in Spire STL Pipeline and Spire Storage.
For 75 years, we've continuously paid a common stock dividend. And for the 17th consecutive year, we've used our growing earnings and cash flow to support consistent dividend increases, raising the common stock dividend by 5.1 percent to $2.49 per share for 2020.
$287 million invested in infrastructure upgrades
We remain committed to upgrading our distribution infrastructure for the safety of our employees, customers and communities. So, we accelerated our pipeline replacement program, increasing capital expenditure by 25 percent over last year, resulting in 359 miles of pipeline replaced.
We believe in using our energy for the good of the environment, and in FY19, leaks per 1,000 system miles decreased by 20 percent across all our territories, marking a 67 percent reduction in leaks in the last five years. As a result, we've reduced methane emissions and improved the overall integrity of our system.
Our goal is for every employee to return home safely at the end of each day. This year, we reduced our at-fault motor vehicle accident rate by 21 percent.
When a customer smells gas, we respond with speed and efficiency. For the fourth year in a row, we reduced our average leak response time in FY19 to 25.2 minutes, improving by six percent over last year.
A combination of public education efforts and effective working relationships with state legislators helped reduce our third-party damage rate by 9 percent across our service territories through awareness and "call before you dig" programs.
With an unyielding focus on safety, we reduced our employee injury rate for the fifth year in a row. This marks a 29 percent year-over-year improvement and an overall improvement of 48 percent since 2015.
More than 11,000 new meters installed
We continued last year's momentum, breaking our FY18 record by more than four percent in new premise activations and nine percent in new business capital, thanks, in part, to conversion efforts that helped offset normal customer turnover.
Expanding beyond our current service territory, we worked to extend our energy to poultry and agricultural farmers in Southwest Missouri, saving them thousands each year in energy costs while providing additional margin opportunity.
We took a focused approach to rebates this year, specifically promoting energy-efficient natural gas equipment that has a big impact on energy savings. These efforts resulted in a 14 percent increase from FY18 in rebates claimed for equipment like furnaces and water heaters across Alabama and Missouri.