Edison executives sell $18 million in stock after proposed rate deal

Two top executives of Edison International sold $18 million in company stock four days after a proposed settlement deal on San Onofre nuclear plant costs put ratepayers on the hook for $3.3 billion. (Photo: The sun sets behind the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County). Ed Joyce/KPCC

Two top executives at Edison International pocketed $17.7 million Monday, when they sold stock after an increase in price days after a proposed settlement involving the defunct San Onofre nuclear power plant, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Edison is the parent company of Southern California Edison, the plant's majority owner.
The two executives,  Chairman Ted Craver and Chief Financial Officer James Scilacci, sold the stock March 31, when it closed at $56.61 per share, rising to its highest price since 2007.

That was four days after the company announced a proposed agreement with consumer advocates to end a dispute over who gets the bill for the shuttered plant.

On March 31, Craver exercised stock options held since 2005 and made nearly $9.7 million after selling 172,644 shares at an average of $56 each, according to federal regulatory filings Wednesday.

On the same day, Scilacci sold 143,438 shares at an average of $56, totaling just over $8 million. He exercised options that were granted in 2005 and 2009.

Edison spokesman Charles Coleman declined to comment on the timing of the sales.
A company statement said Craver's stock options did not expire until 2015. He continues to hold 221,903 shares in a trust.

Scilacci retains about 40,000 shares, most of it held indirectly in a retirement savings plan, the filings showed. The stock options he exercised last week did not expire until 2015 and 2019.

Under the proposed agreement between the utilities and consumer advocacy groups, customers of Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric would be responsible for $3.3 billion in costs for replacement power due to the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear power plant south of San Clemente.

On Monday, UBS upgraded Edison International to "buy" from "neutral," setting a target price of $60. Edison International stock closed at $56.47 Thursday.

The San Onofre nuclear plant went offline in January 2012 after a small radiation leak from steam generator tubes in the Unit 3 reactor. Inspections later discovered the steam tubes at in both reactors were wearing at an accelerated rate and that relatively new steam generators were defective. 

The replacement steam generators were installed during a $670 million overhaul in 2009 and 2010. 

Determining who should take the financial hit — utility shareholders or customers — has been at issue since SCE announced in June 2012 that it would permanently close the plant. The decommissioning process is now underway, which is expected to take a decade or more.

Edison closed the plant in June 2013.

The Utility Reform Network, California Public Utilities Commission's Office of Ratepayer Advocates, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric met behind closed doors March 27 in San Francisco to work on the agreement on how the costs would be divided between the utility's shareholders and its customers. Those costs include the purchase of replacement power for the plant and expenses related to defective reactor equipment.

The two utilities had sought about $4.7 billion for costs related to purchasing replacement power during the plant's shutdown and costs associated with the failed generators.  

The proposed settlement deal still faces a hearing and a vote by the California Public Utilities Commission. CPUC spokeswoman Terrie Prosper said a hearing date is pending.