SoCal Edison fails to pay suppliers, defaults

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SoCal Edison fails to pay suppliers, defaults Monday February 5, 6:22 PM EST

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NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Southern California Edison, one of California's embattled electric utilities, said on Monday it has defaulted on $395 million of short-term debt since Jan. 16, deferred $743 million of payments to suppliers, and "would have run out of cash" last Friday if it made payments on time.

SoCal Edison and its parent, Rosemead, Calif.-based Edison International (EIX), made the disclosures in mirror filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The short-tern debt, or commercial paper, defaults were expected. SoCal Edison has $1.36 billion of cash.

The utility said it failed to pay $5.1 million of interest due Feb. 1 on floating-rate notes, missed a $34 million payment due that day to the California Power Exchange, and has through Monday, not paid $79.8 million of CalPX energy credits.

SoCal Edison said by the end of February it will owe suppliers $733 million more, and by the end of April will have another $136 million of commercial paper coming due.

SoCal Edison and No. 1 rival Pacific Gas & Electric Co., a unit of San Francisco-based PG&E Corp. (PCG), are strapped for cash because a rate freeze prevents them from passing on their soaring wholesale power costs to consumers.

Edison International shares closed Monday on the New York Stock Exchange at $13.23, up 22 cents. 2000 Reuters Limited.

-- Swissrose (cellier@azstarnet.com), February 06, 2001


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