Sempra earnings up despite Porter Ranch & San Onofre losses

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San Diego Gas and Electric

neighborhoods all night in the midst of a heatwave

SAN DIEGO — San Diego-based Sempra Energy reported earnings Friday of $1.35 billion, or $5.37 cents per diluted share, in 2015 — up from $1.16 billion, or $4.63 per diluted share, in 2014.

Sempra’s 2015 earnings reflected a $15 million benefit for San Diego Gas & Electric from a reduction in loss related to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, but in 2014, Sempra’s results included a $21 million reduction in the loss related to the shuttered plant in northern San Diego County.

Sempra’s earnings last year also included a $36 million after-tax gain from the sale of the second block of the utility agency’s Mesquite power facility, but $10 million in expenses from liquefied natural gas development.

Sempra’s adjusted earnings last year were $1.31 billion, or $5.21 per diluted share, which was up from $1.18 billion, or $4.71 per diluted share, the year before, according to company executives.

CEO and Chairwoman Debra Reed said Sempra produced strong financial results last year despite a massive leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility outside Los Angeles. The leak, which was first detected Oct. 23, was capped by Southern California Gas Co. Feb. 18.

SoCalGas executives said Thursday that it was costing the company as much as $2 million a day to house roughly 3,400 Porter Ranch-area residents displaced by the leak. More than 100,000 tons of methane were spewed into the air, making it the largest methane leak in U.S. history, according to a study by UC Davis, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and others.

“We recognize the disruption the leak has caused to SoCalGas customers living in the neighborhoods adjacent to the Aliso Canyon facility,” Reed said. “SoCalGas is committed to helping local residents return to their normal lives as quickly as possible and also will support forward-looking regulations to ensure the safety of natural gas storage operations going forward.”

Sempra’s adjusted fourth quarter earnings, which did not include SONGS- related items and liquefied natural gas expenses, were $370 million, or $1.47 per diluted share — up from $309 million, or $1.23 per diluted share in 2014.

“We successfully grew operating earnings and outperformed our adjusted earnings guidance for the year,” Reed said.

San Diego Gas & Electric earned $144 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with $128 million in the same time period in 2014, according to a statement from its parent company, Sempra. The utility reported adjusted full- year earnings of $572 million in last year, up from $528 million in 2014.