DUFF & PHELPS: CAROLINA POWER & LIGHT COMPANY $500 MILLION FIRST MORTGAGE BONDS (SHELF) RATED 'A+'
CHICAGO, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. has assigned a rating of "A+" (Single-A-Plus) to Carolina Power & Light Company's (CPL) shelf registration for $500 million of first mortgage bonds. Proceeds will be used for construction and maintenance, to retire or refund debt, and for general corporate purposes. CPL has strong internal cash flow, a stable service territory, and supportive regulation. Declining debt levels and modest sales growth should add stability to credit protection measures. The company's construction program appears manageable with the majority of the expenditures used for generating facility upgrades, and transmission and distribution expansion. CPL has substantial interests in the Brunswick, Harris, and Robinson nuclear facilities. Brunswick Unit 2 was returned to service in May after an extended outage, while Brunswick Unit 1 is currently experiencing new problems. Last month, a crack in the core shroud of the idle Brunswick Unit 1 was discovered. The shroud is a stainless steel cylinder that directs the flow of water inside the reactor. The company has indicated it will make necessary repairs. Unit 1, which was originally scheduled to return to service earlier this fall, is now expected to restart in December. Both units were placed on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Watch List in July 1992. In July 1993, the company reached an agreement with the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission Staff and others, which if approved by the commission, would resolve all issues associated with the Brunswick plant outage. Under the agreement, CPL would write-off $25.5 million of the $31.2 million in higher fuel costs incurred during the twelve-month period ending March 31, 1993. The $5.7 million balance will be recovered subject to certain operating performance standards for the Brunswick units. Approval of the agreement is expected this fall. In contrast to recent problems at Brunswick, CPL's coal-fired generating system, which provides the majority of the company's energy supply, continues to perform well. The system attained an availability factor of 86 percent for 1992 and 87 percent for the past five years. Carolina Power & Light Company serves approximately one million electric customers in an area encompassing nearly one-half of North Carolina and one-fourth of South Carolina. -0- 10/19/93 /CONTACT: John C. Dell of Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co., 312-368-3161/ (CPL)
CO: Carolina Power & Light Company ST: North Carolina, South Carolina IN: UTI SU: RTG
TS -- NY087 -- 4110 10/19/93 15:25 EDT
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|Date:||Oct 19, 1993|
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