Moody's Investors Service has completed its Western Grid Surveillance Review, a study that assessed the potential impact of the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC's) electric restructuring proposal on municipal utilities in that region.
Moody's Investors Service
After four years and four tries, El Paso Electric Co. (EPE) has finally got a plan, and a ticket out of bankruptcy. EPE's fourth amended reorganization plan has been approved by the federal bankruptcy court as well as federal and state regulators, and received near-unanimous acceptance by creditors and stockholders.
The plan proposes two alternative methods of emerging from bankruptcy. Under the preferred alternative, EPE would use the proceeds from an underwritten public offering of first mortgage bonds to repay the claims of existing secured creditors in full.
A new report by Moody's Investors Service, Northeast Break-Even Analysis, finds that wide variations in the cost structures of investor-owned, municipal, and state electric utilities in the Northeastern United States will disadvantage the majority under deregulation in relation to their peers in contiguous regions. If full competition is introduced, Moody's concludes that the credit quality of Northeastern utilities with above-average costs would likely deteriorate because some investments are unrecoverable from ratepayers.
If you attended any energy conference in the past year, even one on natural gas, I am confident that at least one panel was devoted to the restructuring of the electric industry.
In response to a mandate by New York Gov. George E. Pataki, a Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) advisory team has developed a proposal to dismantle the Long Island Lighting Co. (LILCO), hoping to reduce electric rates by as much as 12 percent. In response, Moody's Investors Service has changed the direction of its review of LILCO's credit ratings from negative to uncertain.
LIPA intends to create a LIPA "wire company" that would buy LILCO's transmission and distribution assets, including some payment for the Shoreham plant.
Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the credit ratings of PSI Energy Co. (PSI), Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. (CGE), and Union Light Heat & Power Co. The upgrades (em which affect about $3.8 billion in debt securities (em reflect strengthening financial position coupled with low business risks.
It looks like PacifiCorp will have a little competition down under. A $1.2-billion conditional bid for an Australian electric utility (em made by an Entergy subsidiary, Entergy Power Group (em has been accepted by the State of Victoria.
In the first three-way merger in utility history, IES Industries Inc., Interstate Power Co., and WPL Holdings, Inc. propose to combine as Interstate Energy Corp. The companies project merger savings of about $700 million over a 10-year period. If approved by regulators and shareholders, the proposal would result in a corporation with market capitalization of about $2 billion, and assets of almost $4 billion. Interstate would rank 34th among U.S. utility holding companies, based on 1994 revenues.
PacifiCorp's wholly-owned subsidiaries, PacifiCorp Holdings, Inc. and PacifiCorp Australia Holdings Pty Ltd., have agreed to purchase Powercor, an electric utility in southeast Australia, for about $1.6 billion. Powercor is one of five distribution companies being sold by the State of Victoria in its first stage of privatizing distribution and generation utilities. Moody's Investors Service has placed the ratings of PacifiCorp and PacifiCorp Holdings on review for possible downgrade.
Puget Sound Power & Light Co. (PSPL) and Washington Energy Co. (WE) have agreed to merge, projecting $370 million in savings over the next 10 years from elimination of duplicate corporate and administrative programs, and integration of field operations and facilities. About 45 percent of the savings would come from an 8-percent reduction in combined workforces.