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THE WASHINGTON WATER POWER COMPANY REPORTS EARNINGS

 THE WASHINGTON WATER POWER COMPANY REPORTS EARNINGS
 SPOKANE, Wash., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Washington Water


Power Company (NYSE: WWP) today reported fourth quarter earnings increased slightly in 1991 as compared with the same period in 1990, while 1991 year-end earnings declined, primarily as a result of a major sale of subsidiary assets in 1990.
 The company reported total earnings per share of $2.68 for year- end 1991, compared with total earnings of $3.46, for year-end 1990. The comparison reflects the sale of WWP's coal mining operations in 1990, which generated a one-time gain of $0.59 per share in that year.
 The company reported fourth quarter earnings of $0.71, compared with total earnings per share of $0.67 per share for the fourth quarter of 1990.
 Despite the decline in year-end earnings, Paul A. Redmond, WWP board chairman and chief executive officer, said he was pleased with the performance of the company's utility operations, and particularly pleased with the growth of the company's natural gas business in 1991.
 "Because of exceptionally favorable wholesale marketing conditions and the one-time gain we experienced as a result of the sale of the assets of our coal mining subsidiary to PacifiCorp in 1990, the comparison with the most recent 12-months can be misleading," Redmond said. "From the perspective of the growth we were able to achieve in our utility operations, 1991 was a very solid year for both our natural gas and electric retail businesses."
 Redmond said 1991 was marked by the continuing growth of the company's electric retail operations and a sharp increase in WWP's retail natural gas business. WWP's natural gas customer base increased by 7,500 customers, or approximately eight percent, in Washington and Idaho. An additional 63,000 customers were added to the system through WWP's acquisition of CP National's natural gas properties in Oregon and South Lake Tahoe, California.
 However, Redmond said both electric and natural gas utility operations also experienced significant increases in expenses.
 "With the rapid growth of our natural gas system in Washington and Idaho, we incurred expenses during the year which tended to offset some of the continuing revenue improvement we have achieved," he said. "On the electric side, the growth of our retail business has also been strong, although it has been offset somewhat by the loss of industrial load, particularly in the mining industry. We also experienced offsetting increases in electric expenses, such as those resulting from changes in firm power purchase contracts, and other expenses related to the growth of our electric system."
 Redmond said unseasonably warm weather was a restraint on utility earnings in the fourth quarter. However, WWP experienced increases in both the volume and price of wholesale electric sales to other utilities during the quarter, which offset weather-related declines in retail sales of both electricity and natural gas.
 Year-end and fourth quarter subsidiary earnings declined from comparable periods in 1990, a year in which subsidiary performance was also marked by the one-time $3.5 million writeoff related to the abandonment of a solid waste disposal subsidiary operation.
 Excluding the effects of this writeoff, the decline in subsidiary earnings for both periods was largely the result of the performance of Itron, Inc. The electronic data manufacturing subsidiary experienced a drop in sales during 1991 as a result of the nationwide recession. At the same time, Itron significantly increased the level of expenditures for research and development for new products. The 1990 sale of the assets of the company's coal mining operations was also a factor in the decline in subsidiary earnings in the comparison of year-end results.
 THE WASHINGTON WATER POWER COMPANY
 CONSOLIDATED COMPARATIVE STATEMENTS OF INCOME (UNAUDITED)
 (Dollars in Thousands except Per Share Amounts)
 For the Twelve Months
 4th Quarter Ended December 31
 1991 1990 1991 1990
 OPERATING REVENUES $168,324 $151,625 $566,807 $554,441
 OPERATING EXPENSES:
 Operations and maintenance 88,143 82,195 269,808 266,473
 Administrative and general 12,019 13,150 46,055 42,714
 Depreciation and amortization 13,070 11,364 52,003 47,304
 Taxes other than income taxes 11,710 10,484 39,764 37,309
 Total operating expenses 124,942 117,193 407,630 393,800
 INCOME FROM OPERATIONS 43,382 34,432 159,177 160,641
 INTEREST EXPENSE AND (OTHER INCOME):
 Interest expense 14,340 14,776 54,552 57,760
 Interest capitalized (266) (148) (863) (393)
 Other - net 3,751 1,337 (3,229) (2,023)
 Total interest expense and
 other - net 17,825 15,965 50,460 55,344
 INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES 25,557 18,467 108,717 105,297
 INCOME TAXES 6,329 986 38,086 33,150
 INCOME FROM CONTINUING
 OPERATIONS 19,228 17,481 70,631 72,147
 Income from discontinued coal
 mining operations - net of
 income taxes (Note 1) 0 98 1,553 15,457
 NET INCOME 19,228 17,579 72,184 87,604
 DEDUCT - Preferred stock
 dividend requirements 2,283 2,068 9,292 8,419
 INCOME AVAILABLE FOR
 COMMON STOCK $ 16,945 $ 15,511 $ 62,892 $ 79,185
 Average common shares
 outstanding (thousands) 23,703 23,139 23,458 22,862
 EARNINGS PER COMMON SHARE:
 From continuing operations $ 0.71 $ 0.67 $ 2.61 $ 2.78
 From discontinued coal
 mining operations (Note 1) 0.00 0.00 0.07 0.68
 Total $ 0.71 $ 0.67 $ 2.68 $ 3.46
 DIVIDENDS PER SHARE OF
 COMMON STOCK $ 0.62 $ 0.62 $ 2.48 $ 2.48
 SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION
 INCOME FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS:
 Utility operations $ 17,946 $ 19,096 $ 69,211 $ 71,463
 Non-utility operations $ 1,282 $ (1,615)$ 1,420 $ 684
 NOTE 1: The Company has sold the assets of its coal mining subsidiary to PacifiCorp (NYSE: PPW) for $40,800,000. The sale closed on July 31, 1990. The financial statements have been reclassified to reflect the Company's continuing operations.
 -0- 1/30/92
 /CONTACT: Rob Strenge, 509-482-4230, or Pat Lynch, 509-482-4246, both of The Washington Water Power Company/
 (WWP PPW) CO: The Washington Water Power Co. ST: Washington IN: UTI SU: ERN


SC -- SE006 -- 5229 01/30/92 12:12 EST
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Date:Jan 30, 1992
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