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STATEMENT BY DUQUESNE LIGHT COMPANY

 PITTSBURGH, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Duquesne Light Company today issued the following statement:
 "Statements by the Office of Trial Staff in a Feb. 3, 1993, Post-Gazette news story ("Utilities' power line pact assailed") and in subsequent media coverage in the region represent false and misleading allegations about adjustments of the price of energy in business contracts between Duquesne Light and General Public Utilities. These interpretations are being spread by a party -- the Office of Trial Staff -- who has opposed the GPU-DQE Transmission project from its inception.
 "The Post-Gazette story strongly implies that there has been a change in the position of Duquesne Light with respect to benefits for its customers. Duquesne Light foresees no circumstances by which Duquesne Light customers will bear the cost of the restart of Phillips and Brunot Island power stations or the construction of the transmission line.
 "Allegations of the OTS suggesting these costs will be paid by Duquesne Light customers are false. The OTS knows them to be untrue. The OTS is making these statements in disregard of detailed testimony, filed by the companies approximately two months ago, which shows these statements to be untrue. While spreading false information through the newspapers, the OTS has not filed testimony to provide evidence supporting its interpretation of revision in the business contracts between Duquesne Light and General Public Utilities.
 "The Office of Trial Staff opposed the Public Utility Commission order of last April that the sale of western Pennsylvania energy to customers in the east is indeed in the public interest. It also opposed the methodology for future ratemaking in this matter that was agreed upon by Duquesne Light and the Office of the Consumer Advocate, the Office of the Small Business Advocate, and industrial and commercial customers, as part of the commission order.
 "Now the OTS is trying to reopen that case in order to further delay a fair and timely PUC decision in the transmission line siting case.
 "The GPU-DQE project is the single, most important program that Duquesne Light can implement in order to reduce the cost of electricity for its customers. Customers are further protected under the renegotiated contract by an index for future inflation. When inflation costs change, revenues under the contract will be adjusted accordingly.
 "Current forecasts of cost savings for Duquesne Light customers are based upon the renegotiated contract price for the sale of energy to General Public Utilities and the settlement agreement. Duquesne Light customers will receive rate benefits from the sale of power to General Public Utilities of approximately $1 billion over the life of the contract. As a company, we are committed to that agreement.
 "Delays in regulatory review of the project are delaying the benefits of this project. Duquesne Light made a commitment to provide immediate rate credits to customers at the start of the power sale in 1994. Because of delaying tactics by opponents, the power sale is now delayed until 1997. One measure of the cost of this delay is that the 20 largest Duquesne Light customers will not receive in 1994 and 1995 a total of $8 million in rate relief originally forecast for those years.
 "Changes in the usiness contracts between the two companies address external economic factors that determine the cost of energy -- and its price to wholesale customers. More than 1000 days have passed since the two companies announced this project and alerted the public -- and public officials -- to the critical importance of timely decision making. In that period of nearly three years, the price of energy has fallen, commodity costs have dropped, and the forecast for inflation has improved. As a company doing business in a very competitive market for wholesale energy, we have responded to that changed environment by setting a price for wholesale energy that reflects current market conditions.
 "The contract revisions absolutely do not create a legal basis whereby Duquesne Light customers could pay for the costs of the project. Neither company is going to go forward with this project until the PUC approves the siting application to be in the public interest. The companies have been seeking that approval for over 520 days. If the PUC does not approve the siting application, both companies will walk away from this project and the opportunity for rate benefits for Duquesne Light customers and jobs for Pennsylvanians will be lost.
 "There is nothing in these minor revisions to the agreements that creates any risks for the companies or their customers. In fact, the revisions have had the effect of reducing any risks associated with this project.
 "The position of the OTS is that rate benefits from the GPU-DQE Transmission Project and the project's investment in Pennsylvania jobs should be lost altogether."
 -0- 2/5/93
 /CONTACT: Dennis E. O'Neil of Duquesne Light Company, 412-393-4060/


CO: Duquesne Light Company; Office of Trial Staff; General Public
 Utilities ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:


CD -- PG012 -- 3606 02/05/93 14:45 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 5, 1993
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