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COMMONWEALTH EDISON SENIOR DEBT LOWERED TO 'BBB+', ON FITCHALERT NEGATIVE -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE

 COMMONWEALTH EDISON SENIOR DEBT LOWERED TO 'BBB+',
 ON FITCHALERT NEGATIVE -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE
 NEW YORK, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Commonwealth Edison Co.'s (CWE) first mortgage bonds are lowered to 'BBB+' from 'A-' by Fitch. Its debentures are lowered to 'BBB' from 'BBB+', preferred stock to 'BBB-' from 'BBB', and its preference stock to 'BB+' from 'BBB-'. The issues remain on FitchAlert with negative implications pending the financial resolution of a rate case, which is expected on Jan. 11, 1993.
 The lower ratings reflect the lack of regulatory support that has prevented Commonwealth Edison (CWE) from recovering its investment in three nuclear units that have been operating since 1987. Although a final rate decision is not expected until January 1993, recent commission rulings and staff testimony indicate even the most optimistic scenario is unlikely to produce sufficient revenue to support the current ratings.
 Despite a substantial 47 percent dividend reduction, debt leverage of 57.8 percent as of June 30 is unlikely to improve and, under certain scenarios, could worsen due to the expected rate reduction of between $126 million and $418 million and potential refund obligations ranging between roughly $250 million and $800 million. The dividend reduction, announced yesterday and effective Nov. 1, 1992, will save the company about $296 million annually. Interest coverage will also suffer and is likely to decline below the current level of 2.6 times (x) as of the 12 months ended June 30, 1992.
 Several other unresolved issues are also pending. The most significant of these, a fuel audit, could require a substantial writeoff that would further impair debt leverage. Fitch expects to make its final rating decision in January after the final rate decision is reached.
 -0- 9/11/92
 /CONTACT: Robert Hornick of Fitch, 212-908-0564/
 (CWE) CO: Commonwealth Edison Co. ST: Illinois IN: UTI SU: RTG


SM -- NY037 -- 8499 09/11/92 13:13 EDT
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Date:Sep 11, 1992
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