Edison International Earnings Call Insights: Dividend Outlook and Settlement Process

Edison International (NYSE:EIX) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Dividend Outlook

Jonathan Arnold – Deutsche Bank: Firstly, Ted, in your prepared remarks, you said about the dividend that the plan was to increase it to the range I think you said in steps and over time. Can you give us any flavor or sort of how many steps and how long – and how much time is the right way to think about this given the SONGS sort of ongoing deliberations?

Theodore F. Craver Jr. – Chairman, President and CEO: Well, Jonathan, it’s obviously a question I understand people would like more specificity on. I think actually you and I talked about before as well the tricky part about either saying we’re going to be at 50% by X year is implied in any kind of commitment along that line is – you might find yourself having to either issue debt to increase the dividend or possibly then issue equity in order to maintain that target, and we just feel that’s imprudent. That’s not the right way to manage capital. So, that’s why we say in steps over time. And I think the intent obviously is to get back into the range, get back into that range as soon as it is prudent. We obviously have a few things bubbling on the stove here and we’ve got to figure out the most appropriate way to get back into that range. So I can’t be more clear at this point, but we certainly don’t expect it to be in one big jump and we don’t expect to spend an excessive amount of time getting there.

Jonathan Arnold – Deutsche Bank: Could I just on another topic, the topic to the CPUC approved the (indiscernible) paper, they think it’s going to cost less than you are saying it’s going to cost. I am sorry if you commented this I was cut off for a bit. Well how will it work? How will you resolve that difference and what is the risk associated with not recovering the actual costs?

Theodore F. Craver Jr. – Chairman, President and CEO: Jonathan we are going to have Ron Litzinger cover that.

Ronald L. Litzinger – President, Southern California Edison: Yes. Jonathan cost recovery is at FERC. We will make our filings at FERC and we have to demonstrate prudency whatever it costs. The public – California PUC does like to put cost caps in their decisions, but it’s ultimately decided by FERC.

Jonathan Arnold – Deutsche Bank: So that there is you feel – it doesn’t matter essentially on what the Commission decided on costs that it will be through determined by FERC based on your future filing?

Ronald L. Litzinger – President, Southern California Edison: I think people look at the cost caps that the PUC has and it certainly begs questions. So if we feel we need to file an advice letter with regards to the cost cap at an appropriate time after we get a little further along with the construction risk we face at the Tehachapi we would file an advice letter just to clear up that question.

Settlement Process

Michael Lapides – Goldman Sachs: I was just curious in terms of thinking about the risk reward around the settlement in the transmission, the TO case. I know that you haven’t disclosed any of the information regarding what’s in the detail of the formal settlement. But just curious are you looking at a process where you could be coming back in every year where you are reviewing potential ROEs on FERC regulated transmission? Are you looking to try and get more some long-term certainty around that?

William J. Scilacci – EVP, CFO and Treasurer: Michael, I’m sorry right now. I’d loved to be able to get into the settlement, but since it’s subject to confidentiality, I can’t peel off the piece and give you a feel for how that was treated in the settlement process. When we actually filed the settlement, which is expected around August 16, the full settlement will be in the public domain and we’ll be happy to talk to you then. So, I got to beg off until we get that into the public domain.

Michael Lapides – Goldman Sachs: Follow-on question related to EME, if I go back in time, meaning, if I go back and recall whether it was NRG, whether it was Mirant, whether it was some of the other bankruptcies on the merchant side that we’ve seen. The round up being significant cash payments made, whether it was by Xcel or other companies to bondholder or creditor committee, how do you think or how should investors think about the potential ramifications or impact of that for Edison International in the EME process?

Theodore F. Craver Jr. – Chairman, President and CEO: Well, Michael, you are going to get Jim’s response (redux). I’ll just say I chose my words carefully in my prepared remarks and those are really probably where we need to leave it at this point. Lots – it’s the nature of the animal, lots of these claims and counterclaims and all kinds of interesting tactics, get used, but at the end of the day as I said, we think the claims or the allegations that were made in this latest filing are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend our approach. I have to leave it there.

A Closer Look: Edison International Earnings Cheat Sheet>>