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San Diego-based Sempra Energy, parent of local utility San Diego Gas & Electric, announced yesterday that earnings were down slightly for the third quarter of 2012, coming in at $268 million as compared to $289 million for the same period in 2011.

The lower earnings were largely related to a $60 million write-down the company took related to its 25 percent ownership stake in the Rockies Express Pipeline, a 1,679 mile-long natural gas system running from Colorado to Ohio.

Locally, however, the company’s profitability is up, as the SDG&E division saw its earnings rise to $174 million from just $113 million a year ago. The company credits lower taxes, higher earnings on electricity transmission, and lower expenses related to its role in the 2007 wildfires to the boost in income.

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