Fitch Investors Service has assigned competitive rankings to 60 of the nation's largest public power and investor-owned electric utilities (IOUs). The top three IOU slots in the Fitch Competitive Indicator (FCI) go to Duke Power Co., Potomac Edison Co., and Northern States Power Co. The top three positions for public producers go to Jacksonville Electric Authority (with the highest overall ranking), San Antonio City Public Service, and Lincoln Electric System.
The FCI evaluates the ability of IOUs and public power electrics to compete in a market-driven environment, differentiating utilities that are well-positioned for increased competition from those that are more vulnerable. Additional FCI scores will be published going forward. The FCI builds on Fitch's Global Power rating guidelines, and uses a balanced approach rather than relying on financial ratios. Fitch calculates the FCI by assigning a numerical score between one (most competitive) and five (least competitive) to each of six major components: management, rates, financial/legal, plant, regulation, and demographics. Competitive profiles, as measured by the FCI, are factored into Fitch's utility credit-rating process to determine future credit quality. More than half of Fitch's electric ratings have been reviewed using the new approach, resulting in 5 downgrades, 4 upgrades, plus 13 downward and 1 upward adjustments. (em LB
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