Edison International (EIX:US), the owner of California’s second-largest electric utility, said first-quarter profit declined on lower power prices and higher fuel costs at its Edison Mission generating unit.
Net income fell to $114 million, or 28 cents a share, from $214 million, or 61 cents a share, a year earlier, the Rosemead, California-based company said today in a statement.
Excluding results from a coal plant the company intends to transfer General Electric Co., per-share profit was 16 cents less than the 51-cent average of 14 analysts’ estimates (EIX:US) compiled by Bloomberg.
Sales rose 2.7 percent to $2.86 billion. Net income at the company’s Southern California Edison utility fell 18 percent to $182 million compared with a year ago, Edison said.
“Prospects remain strong for rate base and earnings growth” at Southern California Edison, Edison Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ted Craver said in the statement.
The net loss at the company’s Edison Mission Group widened to $83 million from $18 million a year ago on lower power prices and production, according to the statement.
Record warmth led to more than 15,000 temperature records being broken in the U.S. in March, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Heating demand in Illinois, where Edison operates 5,172 megawatts of coal-fired generation, was 28 percent lower in the quarter compared with a year ago.
Power prices in PJM Interconnection LLC’s wholesale markets, where Edison Mission sells its output, fell 33 percent from a year earlier to an average of $34.62 per megawatt-hour during the quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Edison is seeking to transfer control of its Homer City coal plant in Pennsylvania to its owner, General Electric, after failing to find financing for pollution-control upgrades. The company also said in February it would shut two other coal plants and possibly a third in the U.S. Midwest.
Southern California Edison distributes power to more than 14 million people, according to the utility’s website. Its San Onofre nuclear power plant, located 60 miles (97 kilometers) south of Los Angeles, has been shut since January after excessive wear was found on steam generator tubes. Inspections and repairs at the reactors cost the company 4 cents a share for the quarter.
The earnings statement was issued after the close of regular trading in New York. Edison rose 5 cents to $43.72 at 4:15 p.m. in New York.
PG&E Corp. (PCG:US) owns the California electric utility with the most customers.
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