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UTILITY RISKS ESCALATE, BANKRUPTCIES POSSIBLE, REGULATORS SAY -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Electric utilities face significantly increased business risk and potential bankruptcies in an emerging competitive environment, state regulatory commissions report in a new survey.
 The survey conducted by Fitch Investors Service, Inc. and R.J. Rudden Associates, Inc., an energy consulting concern, will be released in a detailed report Nov. 1.
 Regulators were polled for their views on the business and financial effects of competition, implementing competitive practices, perceived attitudes of industry stakeholders, and factors affecting utility market positions.
 Highlights of the comprehensive survey of 33 public utility commissions are: (1) 90 percent of commissions believe business risk will escalate, (2) 87 percent project an increased need for unbundled and market-flexible electric rates, (3) 82 percent feel utilities will face higher costs of capital, (4) 70 percent see a risk of utilities not earning their authorized rates of return, and (5) 38 percent expect investor-owned electric utility bankruptcies in their jurisdictions. Potentially vulnerable utilities will be identified through a Fitch analytical framework incorporating quantitative and qualitative risk factors.
 The responding commissions regulate 70 percent of the nation's investor-owned utilities in the following states:
 - Alabama - Kansas - North Dakota
 - Alaska - Maryland - Ohio
 - California - Michigan - Oregon
 - Colorado - Minnesota - Pennsylvania
 - Connecticut - Mississippi - Rhode Island
 - Wash. D.C. - Missouri - South Carolina
 - New Hampshire - South Dakota - Florida
 - New Jersey - Tennessee - Hawaii
 - New Mexico - Texas - Idaho
 - New York - West Virginia - Indiana
 - North Carolina - Wyoming - Iowa
 Details will be presented at the Edison Electric Institute's Financial Conference next Monday in Orlando.
 -0- 10/27/93
 /CONTACT: Stephen M. Fetter, 212-908-0555, or Robert Hornick, 212-908-0564, both of Fitch, or Richard J. Rudden, 516-348-4090, of R.J. Rudden/


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LG -- NY081 -- 7341 10/27/93 13:19 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 27, 1993
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