SANTEE COOPER (SC) REVENUE BONDS RATED 'A+' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
SANTEE COOPER (SC) REVENUE BONDS RATED 'A+' BY FITCH
-- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
NEW YORK, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- South Carolina Public Service Authority's (Santee Cooper) 6 1/4 percent revenue bonds, 1992 series M are rated 'A+' by Fitch. The credit trend is stable. The authority anticipates selling about $40 million of bonds the week of Sept. 21.
The issue will be sold as current interest revenue bonds in denominations of $500, or multiple integrals, and capital appreciation revenue bonds in denominations of $200, or multiple integrals. This sale is part of the authority's continuing program to afford residents of South Carolina, employees and customers of Santee Cooper, and members and employees of electric cooperatives in the state, the opportunity to purchase the authority's bonds.
Santee Cooper enjoys a diversified fuel mix, efficient generating facilities, and electric rates significantly below most other regional utilities. Electric rates have not been raised since 1985 and are not projected to increase before 1994. In June 1992, the authority settled litigation with its largest coal supplier regarding two higher priced contracts. As a result, new long-term coal contracts have been executed that will result in savings of about $240 million over the life of the agreements. Santee Cooper's customers will benefit directly from these savings through lower fuel costs.
Construction of the 540 megawatt (mw) coal-fired Cross Unit 1 is on schedule for commercial operation in May 1995. Funding of the project is enhanced by the authority's strong cash flow, solid financial position, and a reduction in the total cost estimates of the new unit as a result of competitive contract bidding. Santee Cooper has purchase power agreements with Virginia Power to ensure adequate reserves prior to the operation of the new facility.
The relationship between Santee Cooper and Central Electric Cooperative, its largest customer at over 40 percent of sales, has improved in recent years. Increasing sales to Central's rapidly growing residential and commercial customers continues to provide better balance between the large industrial and other customer classes. Concerns related to possible reduced operating levels at Alumax's Mt. Holly facility are largely mitigated by the importance of the plant to Alumax's worldwide operations and the generally low price of Santee Cooper's power.
/CONTACT: Susan Courtney, 212-908-0503, or Alan Spen, 212-908-0594, both of Fitch/ CO: Santee Cooper ST: South Carolina IN: UTI SU: RTG
KD -- NY080 -- 1294 09/18/92 16:57 EDT