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DUFF & PHELPS: CAMBRIDGE ELECTRIC LIGHT COMPANY INITIAL PUBLIC RATING OF 'BBB+' (PARENT: COMMONWEALTH ENERGY SYSTEM)

 CHICAGO, April 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. has assigned an initial public rating of "BBB+" (Triple-B-Plus) to Cambridge Electric Light Company's outstanding notes, which total approximately $42 million.
 Cambridge Electric Light Company is a Massachusetts electric distribution company providing retail service to Cambridge and wholesale service to Belmont. The company's service territory is considered above average. Commercial accounts represent about three-fourths of total kwh sales, a characteristic that provides earnings protection from regional economic downturns. Largest among Cambridge Electric Light's commercial customers are two universities.
 The company has equity investments in four regional nuclear plants: Connecticut Yankee, Maine Yankee, Vermont Yankee, and Yankee Rowe (ceased operations pending decommissioning). The Yankee plant investments represent about 7 percent of total assets and provide the company with 68 mw of capacity. Total capability is approximately 140 mw. The bulk of Cambridge Electric Light's power supply is provided at relatively low rates under purchased power arrangements with affiliate Canal Electric. Other suppliers are accessible and abundant.
 The company's revenues are regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (MDPU) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In December 1992, Cambridge Electric Light filed a base rate case with MDPU seeking a $10.2 million (8.9 percent) increase in rates for adoption of SFAS 106, recovery of plant additions since the last base rate case in 1989, and variability in power costs recovered through base rates. A decision is expected in the second quarter of 1993.
 Forecasted construction expenditures of $33 million for the period 1993-97 are expected to be two-thirds funded by internal cash generation. Assuming adequate rate relief, continued cost control, and modest sales growth, credit protection measures should remain stable.
 Cambridge Electric Light is one of several subsidiaries comprising Commonwealth Energy System. Measures being taken by the System as a whole to improve its competitive posture include controlling expense levels, controlling rate design to attract and retain industrial customers, and implementing conservation and load management programs.
 -0- 4/8/93
 /CONTACT: John C. Dell of Duff & Phelps, 312-368-3161/
 (CES)


CO: Cambridge Electric Light Company ST: Massachusetts IN: UTI SU: RTG

GK -- NY054 -- 4293 04/08/93 14:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 8, 1993
Words:360
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