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FitchRatings upgrades MLGW bond rating for second time this year: Utility now has AAA rating in both electric and water
May 10, 2010
(May 10, 2010) - FitchRatings has upgraded MLGW's electric bond rating for the second time in six months, giving it the highest possible AAA rating. The electric bond rating joins the water bond rating which also sits with an AAA rank.

The new rankings from Fitch propels MLGW to a nearly unprecedented position, and tells potential investors that investing in MLGW bonds is a safe return on their money, which, in turn, allows the utility to help keep rates low for its customers. MLGW is one of a handful of electric utilities to hold an AAA rating from Fitch. The services rates 200 U.S. public power systems.

"MLGW's AAA bond rating in combination with our very low rates, as announced last week in a survey of 50 utilities, places MLGW in a very enviable position. This is very good news for all MLGW customers," said MLGW President and CEO Jerry Collins Jr. "The financial management team at MLGW is to be congratulated for their fine stewardship of our ratepayer's money."

"We have low debt and that is one of the things that helped us. The lower our debt the more stable the rating companies view you. Especially in times of economic stress, a company that has low debt is in a much stronger position to weather the storm, and the ratings companies closely examine our debt amount, and we have a low amount of debt," said John McCullough, MLGW's Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

The high bond ratings recently helped MLGW save $18 million over the next eight years on an electric bond refinancing.

MLGW is the largest three-service public power utility in the nation, serving more than 429,000 customers in Memphis and Shelby County. An April 2010 survey showed that MLGW has the second lowest combined (electric, natural gas, water and wastewater) residential rates out of 50 major U.S. cities.