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Sempra Energy reports higher first-quarter earnings

Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) reported first-quarter 2014 earnings of $247 million, or $0.99 per diluted share, compared to $178 million, or $0.72 per diluted share, in the same period last year.

Excluding a $9 million after-tax charge related to the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), Sempra Energy's adjusted earnings were $256 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, in the first quarter 2014.

First-quarter 2014 earnings for San Diego Gas & Electric were $99 million, compared with $91 million in 2013, because of improved CPUC base operating margin and the delay in the General Rate Case decision, offset by the $9 million SONGS charge.

On March 27, SDG&E and Southern California Edison announced they reached a settlement agreement with key parties on the closure of SONGS. If approved by the CPUC, the agreement resolves all outstanding cost issues related to the plant closure and allows for recovery of replacement power costs, operating and maintenance expenses, and the companies' non-steam generator replacement investment.

Sempra Energy also reported earnings for Southern California Gas Co. increased to $78 million in the first quarter 2014, compared to $46 million in last year's first quarter. This was due to higher California Public Utilities Commission base operating margin.

The CPUC General Rate Case decision was delayed until the second quarter last year, so neither SoCalGas nor SDG&E recorded revenue from that decision in the first quarter 2013.

“We are seeing year-over-year earnings growth consistent with our expectations,” said Debra L. Reed, chairman and CEO of Sempra Energy. “We are on track to meet our 2014 earnings guidance. Our Cameron LNG liquefaction-export project continues to make strong progress toward the start of construction later this year and we have several large projects in Mexico and Peru coming online in the second half of 2014.”

Earlier this week, Cameron LNG received notice that it had completed the environmental review process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In March, Cameron LNG awarded a construction contract to a joint venture between CB&I and Chiyoda International Corp. Construction on the project is expected to begin later this year, with commercial operations slated to start in 2018.

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