Loan Set for Ailing Edison Subsidiary

Times Staff Writer

Edison International said Friday that its had lined up a $700-million loan that should allow its troubled power plant subsidiary to avert bankruptcy proceedings.

The subsidiary, Edison Mission Energy, is also attempting to sell several assets, including some or all of its international holdings, Rosemead-based Edison said in a regulatory filing.

Like others in the sector, Edison Mission Energy has been struggling for two years because of low electricity prices and tight credit. The commitment for a three-year loan, made Thursday by Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse First Boston, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Lehman Bros. Inc., would allow the power plant unit to make a $781-million debt payment Dec. 11 and avoid a threatened bankruptcy filing.

Edison noted, however, that there was no guarantee it would be able close the financing deal.

Separately, the company's Southern California Edison utility estimated that damage from last month's wildfires probably would cost the utility more than $50 million.

Southern California Edison said about 1,500 power poles and 200 transformers had been damaged or destroyed, mostly in the San Bernardino Mountains. The utility said it expected to recover those costs through rates.

Southern California Edison also said it was notified that the Orange County district attorney planned to sue the Rosemead utility for failing to upgrade an underground gasoline storage tank in Irvine between Dec. 23, 1998, and Nov. 4, 2001. The storage tank has been removed, Edison said.

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