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DROUGHT CONTINUES TO DEPRESS IDAHO POWER EARNINGS

 BOISE, Idaho, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Idaho Power (NYSE: IDA) earnings remained depressed in 1992, reflecting the impact of the sixth consecutive year of drought on the largely hydroelectric utility's energy production costs.
 The company today reported net income of $60 million, a 3.7-percent improvement over 1991's $57.9 million. Earnings per share declined to $1.55 from 1991's $1.56 per share due to the issuance of 2.2 million new shares of common stock during 1992.
 "Drought and its impact on our hydroelectric system were the driving forces behind our results throughout the year," said Vice President and Chief Financial Officer J. LaMont Keen.
 The company's net power supply costs were $123.9 million last year -- the worst water year in its history -- several times the expenses incurred under what are considered normal streamflow conditions. The company can usually rely on its low cost hydroelectric plants to produce about 57 percent of generation required to meet customers' needs with the balance provided by its more costly coal-fired power plants and purchases from others. Last year only 35 percent of the electricity required by customers was generated at the utility's hydro plants, 51 percent was from its thermal facilities and 14 percent was purchased. As a result, fuel expenses climbed $21.5 million, or 28.7 percent, the cost of purchasing power from others increased $7.3 million, or 14.2 percent, and revenues gained through selling surplus energy to other utilities dropped by $6.5 million, or 58.8 percent.
 "While the company was successful in seeking temporary rate relief during the year, it did not come close to offsetting our extraordinary production costs," said Keen.
 In anticipation of such conditions the company early in the year implemented budget cuts to help offset the extraordinary costs. Reductions of $43 million to the construction budget and $13.5 million to the operating and maintenance budget surpassed by nearly $10.0 million and $2.6 million respectively, the cutbacks originally targeted.
 "Despite every effort by management and other employees at all levels," said Keen, "we simply could not withstand the negative financial consequences of our area's long-running drought."
 A 3.3-percent increase in customers -- the year's 9,759 new general business hook-ups were the largest annual increase since 1978 -- and regulatory approval of $15 million in temporary drought-related rate relief ($10 million realized in 1992) contributed to a record $498.1 million in revenues, a 3.1 percent increase over 1991's level.
 "The economy of our service territory remains healthy and the growth rate is both strong and manageable," said Keen.
 The company's results for the 12 months ended Dec. 31 were: operating revenues of $498.1 million for 1992 and $483.2 million for 1991; net income of $60.0 million for 1992 and $57.9 million for 1991; earnings on common stock of $54.5 million in 1992 and $53.0 million for 1991; and earnings per share of $1.55 for 1992 and $1.56 for 1991.
 For the quarter ending Dec. 31 results were: operating revenues of $129.9 million for 1992 and $122.1 million for 1991; net income of $19.2 million for 1992 and $15.4 million for 1991; earnings on common stock of $17.8 million for 1992 and $13.7 million for 1991 and earnings per share of 49 cents for 1992 and 40 cents for 1991.
 IDAHO POWER CO.
 EARNINGS REPORT SUMMARY
 Quarter ended Dec. 31: 1992 1991
 Earnings Per Share $ 0.49 $ 0.40
 Operating Revenues $129,933,489 $122,142,480
 Net Income $ 19,151,596 $ 15,381,279
 Average Shares 36,106,180 33,977,000
 Twelve months ended Dec. 31: 1992 1991
 Earnings Per Share $ 1.55 $ 1.56
 Operating Revenues $498,092,401 $483,192,661
 Net Income $ 59,989,845 $ 57,871,566
 Average Shares 35,115,854 33,977,000
 -0- 1/29/93
 /CONTACT: Jeff Beaman, 208-383-2461, or J. LaMont Keen, 208-383-2640, both of Idaho Power/
 (IDA)


CO: Idaho Power Co. ST: Idaho IN: UTI SU: ERN

SW -- SE007 -- 0996 01/29/93 18:04 EST
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Date:Jan 29, 1993
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