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COMMONWEALTH EDISON 'A-' SENIOR DEBT ON FITCHALERT NEGATIVE -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 COMMONWEALTH EDISON 'A-' SENIOR DEBT ON FITCHALERT NEGATIVE
 -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
 NEW YORK, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Commonwealth Edison Co.'s (NYSE: CWE) 'A-' first mortgage bonds, 'BBB+' debentures, 'BBB' preferred stock, and 'BBB-' preference stock are placed on FitchAlert with negative implications.
 The action reflects the most recent in a series of negative regulatory rulings that could eventually result in a substantial rate reduction. Yesterday's ruling by the Illinois Commerce Commission established the methodology to be used in a remanded rate case to determine how much of CWE's $7.2 billion investment in three nuclear units is used and useful and can be recovered from rate payers.
 The commission adopted a needs and economic benefits standard, with a 20 percent reserve margin, to determine the used and useful percentages to be applied to Byron 2 and Braidwood units 1 and 2. Based on that ruling, roughly 65 percent of the 3,360 megawatt capacity of the three plants could be considered excess capacity.
 In addition, the ruling will preclude CWE from recovering deferred charges associated with the portion of the plant not considered used and useful. The commission adopted the recovery of deferred charge standard advocated by the commission staff. Deferred charges accounted for more than half of the $750 million March 1991 rate increase that has been remanded by the Illinois Supreme Court. (Only $482 million, the first of three phase-ins, has been reflected in rates.) That rate decision found the three nuclear units to be 100 percent used and useful and permitted recovery of more than $2.5 billion of deferred charges. A final decision in the remand case is scheduled for January 11, 1993.
 A rate reduction and probable refund would reverse the earnings and cash flow improvement that CWE has experienced since the initial March 1991 rate increase. Continued improvement was expected to support current ratings. For the 12 months ended March 31, 1992, interest coverage was 2.7x and internal cash generation supplied about 98 percent of construction outlays. Debt leverage was relatively high, 57.9 percent, due to writeoffs in each of the past three years.
 -0- 6/25/92
 /CONTACT: Robert Hornick of Fitch, 212-908-0564/
 (CWE) CO: Commonwealth Edison Co. ST: Illinois IN: UTI SU: RTG


LR -- NY035 -- 3719 06/25/92 11:19 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 25, 1992
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