President & Chief Executive officer at Edison International
Well, thanks a lot, Sam and good afternoon, everybody. I am pleased to report that Edison International's core EPS for 2022 was $4.63 which was in the upper end of our initial guidance range. Today, we are introducing 2023 EPS guidance of $4.55 to $4.85 and we are reinforcing our strong confidence in delivering our long-term EPS growth target of 5% to 7% from 2021 to 2025. Maria will discuss our financial performance and outlook.
So let's start with our key accomplishments in 2022 and they're noted on Page 3. First, we once again delivered on our annual EPS guidance, as I just mentioned. Second, SCE continued to make tremendous progress in reducing wildfire risk and PSPS. SCE successfully executed its wildfire mitigation plan and updated the key statistics shown on Page 5. That is that SCE now estimates it has reduced the probability of losses of catastrophic wildfires by 75% to 80% compared to pre-2018 levels and critically with much lower reliance on PSPS, now only 15%, as hardening and other mitigations continue as depicted on Page 6. Despite the strong operational and financial performance, market sentiment impacted our total shareholder return. Our TSR for 2022 trailed that of the Philadelphia Utility sector index and most of our peers.
As shareholders ourselves, our leadership team and I are deeply committed to achieving our financial targets while strengthening SCE's ability to deliver safe, reliable, affordable and increasingly clean electricity. Diving deeper into SCE's tremendous progress in wildfire mitigation. Despite challenging weather conditions and some fires in our service area last year, 2022 marks the fourth consecutive year without a catastrophic wildfire associated with SCE's infrastructure. Key achievements in 2022 included deploying about 1,400 circuit miles of covered conductor, bringing total installations to around 4,400 circuit miles. To put this in perspective, this is nearly the round-trip distance from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.
So I am extremely proud of SCE's ongoing execution of grid hardening activities which have made our communities safer. The utility is targeting up to another 1,200 miles of covered conductor in 2023. By year-end, approximately 74% of total distribution lines in high fire risk areas, or HFRA, including the 7,000 miles already underground are expected to be hardened. This is a significant achievement and it is summarized on Page 7. The SCE completed its 1 million high fire risk inspection in 2019 which is like visiting every structure in HFRA at least 3x.
The utility continues to build out its network of weather stations and now with more than 1,600 in total, SCE has the largest privately-owned weather station network in the country providing a granular view of weather-related risk to inform operations. A key result is that total acres burned from ignitions on hardened sections of our grid are 99% smaller than those in areas not yet hardened. SCE's approach to reducing wildfire risk is differentiated by the speed of its infrastructure hardening and by reducing reliance on measures that affect customer reliability like PSPS, for example, by prioritizing hardening circuits at risk of power shutoffs.
By the end of the 2023 through 2025 wildfire mitigation plan, SCE will have hardened about 7,700 miles of its overhead distribution system and scaled innovative pilots, such as Early Fault Detection. We look forward to SCE's continued success in reducing the greatest amount of wildfire risk in the shortest amount of time. Turning to the 2017 and 2018 wildfire and mudslide events outlined on Page 8. In the fourth quarter, SCE paid about $280 million in claims settlements. SCE now targets filing the TKM cost recovery application in the third quarter of 2023.
Let me emphasize that SCE will seek full CPUC cost recovery, excluding amounts forgone under the agreement with the Safety Enforcement Division or already recovered. SCE will show its strong, compelling case that it operated the system prudently and that it is in the public interest to authorize full cost recovery. The utility currently expects to request about $2 billion in this first application. Our financial assumptions for 2025 and beyond do not factor in any potential upside from the cost recovery applications which would represent substantial value. Looking ahead, I want to highlight key management focus areas for 2023. These are laid out on Page 9.
First and foremost, safety is foundational to our values and success and we are targeting reducing the rates of employee injuries by 15%. Tragically, a utility troubleman, Johnny Kinkade, died from a work-related injury last month and 1,200 of us joined his loved ones at his memorial service last week. This was our first employee work-related fatality in 5.5 years and it redoubled my resolve and it redoubled our team's resolve to make it our very last. SCE is unwavering commitment to keeping our communities safe through wildfire mitigation also continues. The utility plans to keep its pace of about 100 miles per month of covered conductor, reaching a total of 5,600 miles by year-end. Again, filing the first cost recovery application for the historical wildfires is a front-and-center focus area for us.
On the regulatory front, SCE looks forward to its upcoming 2025 GRC application and will monitor the cost of capital mechanism which could result in significant upside to 2024 earnings should it trigger. On the financial side, we will be focused on achieving our capital expenditure and earnings goals, as well as pursuing upgrades to our credit ratings. We believe this is well warranted considering the significant wildfire risk reduction by SCE, the state's strong firefighting capabilities and supportive California regulation.
Looking to the future. The support for economy-wide electrification continues to grow nationally and here in California. We've shared before with you that we forecast electricity usage growing 60% by 2045. That's a big 6-0. And previously, we projected almost flat annual growth through 2030 followed by a steep trajectory to 2045 but we are now seeing earlier increases with the breadth of legislation, regulations and codes and standards approved last year. SCE has updated its electricity sales forecast to reflect the significant policy changes and now projects about 2% annual growth from 2023 to 2035. Both transportation and building electrification forecasts have increased significantly, narrowing the gap to our Pathway 2045 analysis.
This strong electrification load growth outlook is also consistent with the California Energy Commission's forecast based on the state's decarbonization policies, providing a source of external validation. Rapid expansion of electrification sharpens the continued need to make significant investments in SCE's infrastructure. Over the coming years, SCE will continue to invest in wildfire mitigation and increase its grid work to support California's leading role in building a carbon-free economy. With growth in electricity demand, this significant grid investment will be spread over a higher volume of sales, supporting affordability overall.
SCE's system average rate is already the lowest among major California investor-owned utilities and we expect it will be the lowest for the foreseeable future. All of this, wildfire risk reduction, cost recovery for historical wildfires, the clean electrification investment opportunity and, importantly, our confidence in the 2025 EPS target makes me very excited about our near-term steps and our long-term growth, so I am confident that investors will fully recognize our significant value creation. And with that, let me turn it over to Maria for the financial report.