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PG&E 3Q net income up 81 percent
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Power utility PG&E Corp. said Monday its third-quarter net income jumped 81 percent, helped by easy comparisons to a prior-year quarter weighed down by hefty one-time costs.

After the payment of preferred dividends, PG&E earned $361 million, or 84 cents per share, up from $200 million, or 50 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

The 2011 quarter's results were significantly reduced by environmental cleanup costs associated with a California natural gas compressor station and charges related to a 2010 pipeline disaster.

Eight people died and 38 homes were destroyed after one of PG&E's pipelines ruptured in the bedroom community of San Bruno on Sept. 9, 2010. The total cost for natural gas pipeline-related actions since the San Bruno explosion is now about $915 million, all of which has been incurred at shareholders' expense, PG&E said.

Natural gas items and environmental costs reduced the recent quarter's results by a net 9 cents per share, PG&E said. The natural gas items include $139 million in pre-tax costs for ongoing work to validate safe pipeline operating pressures and conduct strength testing, as well as legal and other costs in connection with the San Bruno accident.

Excluding those items, the company posted an adjusted profit of 93 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 80 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.

Operating revenue rose 3 percent to $3.98 billion from $3.86 billion, beating analysts' predictions of $3.59 billion.

Electric revenue rose 4.2 percent to $3.32 billion, while natural gas revenue fell 2.8 percent to $653 million.

The company backed its previous full-year adjusted profit prediction of $3.10 to $3.30 per share, while analysts expect a profit of $3.16 per share.

It also maintained its estimate for pipeline-related costs this year at between $450 million to $550 million before taxes, although it said the trend was leaning toward the upper end of that range.

PG&E shares closed Friday at $42, up about 2 percent since the start of the year. Stocks were not trading Monday because the exchanges were shut down due to Hurricane Sandy.