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Edison third-quarter profit falls on lower power prices

November 07, 2009|Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Edison International, parent of Southern California Edison Co., said Friday that its profit dropped 8.2% in the third quarter as the recession pushed sales down and power rates declined in the Midwestern U.S.

But the Golden State was a bright spot for the Rosemead-based company.

"Overall we are pleased with the results of the quarter and what we've been able to accomplish thus far for the year," said Edison Chief Executive Theodore F. Craver Jr. "We've tried to focus on the things we can control."

Edison's net income fell to $403 million, or $1.23 a share, from $439 million, or $1.33, for the same quarter last year. Revenue was $3.66 billion, down 15% from $4.29 billion.

Profit at Southern California Edison jumped 47% to $346 million on lower expenses and higher customer rates. Earlier this year, the California Public Utilities Commission approved an 11% increase in Southern California Edison's rate-base revenue to pay for investments in its power-distribution system.

In June the utility won regulatory approval for a key project to help it meet California's strict renewable energy requirements. Southern California Edison will spend $817 million through 2013 to install and run 250 megawatts of rooftop solar panels, Craver said.

The company's Edison Mission Group, which generates power for the company in plants across the U.S. and one in Turkey, was a source of decline for the quarter that ended Sept. 30. Profit at Edison Mission was down 71% to $61 million.

Power sales at Edison Mission fell 15% to $3.7 billion as the down economy and abnormally cool weather shrank demand for electricity and lower electricity prices reduced income at its coal and gas-fired plants in the Midwest, the company said.

The utility parent company narrowed its 2009 adjusted profit forecast to a range of $2.95 to $3.15 a share. It previously was $2.90 to $3.20.

On Friday, shares of Edison rose $1.01, or 3.1%, to close at $33.19.

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nathan.olivarezgiles@ latimes.com

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