Moody's Southeast IOUs Can Compete

Fortnightly Magazine - October 15 1997
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Investor-owned utilities serving the Southeast U.S. are well-positioned to face increasing competition, but the region's municipal joint power agencies and electric co-ops may face serious losses.

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That's the finding of a Moody's Investors Service regional study, the fourth in a series.

The "Southeast Electric Break-Even Analysis" estimates $24 billion in stranded costs for the region, with cooperatives and JPAs holding a disproportionately high portion of the per-kilowatt costs.

Moody's found the 12 IOUs and several major municipal electrics to have relatively low stranded costs, resulting in higher bond ratings. The ratings ranged from 'Aa2' to 'A2' for the IOUs. The average U.S. electric utility industry as a whole is rated 'A3.' Four IOUs (em Duke Energy, Alabama Power, Savannah Electric and Mississippi Power (em face no stranded costs. The state-owned South Carolina Public Service Authority is rated 'Aa2' and has minimal stranded costs while two major munis, Orlando Utilities Commission and Jacksonville Electric Authority, both rated 'Aa1,' also have moderate stranded cost exposure.

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