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WEST PENN POWER $322 MILLION SHELF DEBT RATED 'A+' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- West Penn Power Co.'s $322 million first mortgage bond shelf registration is rated "A+" by Fitch. The credit trend is declining.
 The rating reflects significant acid rain expenditures and uncertain regulatory treatment by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).
 The PUC, which regulates 98 percent of West Penn's revenues, issued a noncommittal prudency decision on the company's acid rain compliance plan and denied the company's request to recover actual acid rain- related costs through a surcharge. As a result, West Penn's parent, Allegheny Power System, Inc. (APS), has not provided equity support for 1992 construction expenditures.
 The PUC determined that West Penn's acid rain compliance plan was prudent based on currently available information, but conditioned their ruling on the availability of new information on bonus and extension allowances and the market for low sulfur coal. APS plans to comply with 1990 Clean Air Act phase 1 requirements by building scrubbers at its mine-mouth Harrison plant for $726.6 million, including allowance for funds used during construction. West Penn's share is $311.1 million.
 In August, West Penn requested a $92.8 million rate increase in Pennsylvania. Administrative law judge and commission decisions are expected in March and May, respectively.
 Total debt as a percent of capitalization was 50.3 percent at Sept. 30. Pretax coverage of interest excluding AFUDC and including Allegheny Generating Co. interest expense was 3.23 times for the 12 months ended Sept. 30. Internal cash generation funded 46.2 percent of construction expenditures. Higher expenses associated with the scrubber project are likely to cause these measures to weaken.
 -0- 1/7/93
 /CONTACT: Josephine Zeppieri of Fitch, 212-908-0575/
 (AYP)


CO: West Penn Power Co. ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU: RTG

GK -- NY084 -- 2731 01/07/93 14:31 EST
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Date:Jan 7, 1993
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