- ♏Southern California Edison’s measures to strengthen the electric grid, prevent wildfires in its service territory as well as support the electrification of the transportation and building sectors are “critically needed by California and are increasing our investment opportunity,” Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of parent company Edison International, said during an earnings call Tuesday.
- ✤Over the long term, the electrification of vehicles remains a key driver for SCE’s investment in the grid. “We aren’t just talking here about regulatory policies or long-term forecasts. We are seeing customers really start to embrace and adopt EVs today, including operators of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fleets,” Pizarro said.
- 🦩California lawmakers are also that would enable CAISO to transition into a Western RTO — a concept that SCE is supportive of, Pizarro said. “Of course, the devil will be in the details and we want to make sure that that expansion, if and when it happens — and hopefully it will — but that it's done with all the right sort of safeguards in place to make sure that the right benefits accrue both to California and other state's customers,” he added.
ജEdison International on Tuesday reported net income of $310 million, or $0.81 per share, for the first quarter of 2023, compared to $84 million for the same period last year. 𒅌The company sees a number of positives in the near-term and long-term, Pizarro told analysts during the call.
Regulators, for instance, have recognized the need for continued investments in transmission and distribution, and a couple of years ago the California Independent System Operator put out a 20-year plan that estimated California would need around $30 billion in transmission investments through 2040.
More recently, CAISO published a draft plan estimating a need for $9.3 billion in transmission investments⭕ over the next decade. Roughly $2 billion of that are proposed projects for SCE, and another $5 billion are Southern California projects that SCE will be able to compete for.
🅘SCE is also keeping an eye on the prospects of transportation and building electrification in its service territory. It has over $800 million in approved funding for its transportation electrification programs — the largest suite of such programs led by an investor-owned utility in the country, Pizarro said.
📖As customer interest increases, “we are beginning to see vehicle availability improvements in the heavy-duty segment, with more options available to order,” Pizarro said. Heavy-duty electric vehicle customers are also looking into higher-powered chargers, which could increase load as well as trigger the need for upgrades to the distribution system. The utility is working with these customers to better understand when the vehicles are expected on the road, to ensure the grid is ready, Pizarro said.
ꦰAnother focus for SCE is continuing to invest in measures to prevent wildfires in its service area. These increased investments are reflected in the company’s projections of just under $7 billion in capital spending for 2025 — as compared to annual capital expenditures of less than $4 billion just six years ago, Maria Rigatti, Edison International’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said on the call.
In late March, SCE filed a plan🐭 with California regulators forecasting the need to spend $5.8 billion on wildfire mitigation strategies in its footprint. The utility says it has reduced the probability that its equipment will cause wildfires by up to 80% since 2018.