DUFF & PHELPS REAFFIRMS THE EMPIRE DISTRICT ELECTRIC COMPANY FIRST MORTGAGE BONDS AT 'AA-'
CHICAGO, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. has reaffirmed The Empire District Electric Company credit ratings as follows: first mortgage bonds `AA-' (Double-A-Minus); preferred stock `A+' (Single-A-Plus); and commercial paper Duff 1+ (One Plus). Empire District has a conservative capital structure and competitive rates. The company continues to trim expenses, and develop organizational efficiencies. Sales growth is expected to continue to be relatively strong, especially in the Branson, Missouri area. The company has mitigated its exposure to Clean Air legislation by switching to low-sulfur coal. Empire District's reliance on purchased power has increased in recent years, as expected. The company has used inexpensive, intermediate-term contracts for purchased power largely as a bridge until construction of its own generating facilities is completed. The power contracts do not require minimum energy takes. The company's construction program includes new transmission, distribution, and generation facilities. Installation of combustion turbine units in 1995 and 1997 are planned. The company also is considering various options for the addition of base load generating capacity around the turn of the century. Projected construction expenditures are manageable, but will require some external new money financing. Sales of equity are also expected. Future rate relief needs should be relatively modest. The company's credit fundamentals are expected to remain strong. Empire District provides electric service to 123,000 customers in a 10,000 square mile territory including southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma, and northwest Arkansas. The company maintains a network of more than 12,00 miles of transmission lines, which interconnect with nine other utilities at 17 points. -0- 4/19/93 /CONTACT: John C. Dell of Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co., 312-368-3161/ (EDE)
CO: The Empire District Electric Company ST: Missouri IN: UTI SU: RTG
LD -- NY109 -- 7594 04/19/93 16:31 EDT
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|Date:||Apr 19, 1993|
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