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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades Duquesne Light Company and confirms Duquesne Light Holdings; Outlooks stable

30 Jan 2014

Approximately $1.8 Billion of Debt Affected

New York, January 30, 2014 -- Moody's Investors Service upgraded the ratings of Duquesne Light Company and confirmed the rating of Duquesne Light Holdings. Ratings upgraded include Duquesne Light Company's (DLC) senior unsecured to A3 from Baa1 and senior secured to A1 from A2. Duquesne Light Holdings' (DLH) senior unsecured Baa3 was confirmed. This rating action completes our review of DLH and DLC initiated on November 8, 2013. The outlook for the entire family is stable.


The primary driver of today's rating action was Moody's more favorable view of the relative credit supportiveness of the US regulatory environment, as detailed in our September 2013 Request for Comment titled "Proposed Refinements to the Regulated Utilities Rating Methodology and our Evolving View of US Utility Regulation."

We generally categorize the Pennsylvania regulatory framework under which DLC operates as being about average for U.S. utilities in terms of supportiveness of credit quality and ability to recover costs on a timely basis and earn adequate returns. During the transition from a fully vertically integrated electric utility to a deregulated T&D utility, the Pennsylvania Public Service Commission (PAPUC) enacted burdensome rate caps and other measures. However, that period has passed and the PAPUC has been relatively constructive with the utilities for post-transition default service supply plans and other rate requests.

Additionally, there has been recent progress legislatively which has improved the framework that DLC operates under. The Governor of Pennsylvania signed legislation authorizing the PAPUC to approve two specific ratemaking mechanisms -- a fully projected future test year and a distribution system improvements charge. The bill became effective April 14, 2012 and DLC currently has a pending rate case with the PAPUC.

The confirmation of DLH's Baa3 senior unsecured results from the high level of parent company debt and unregulated operations which do not benefit from our more favorable view of the US regulatory environment.


A further upgrade is not likely at this time due to the recent rating action. If significant deleveraging occurred at DLH, there could be a narrowing of the ratings notching between DLH and DLC.


Declining credit metrics, particularly the RCF / debt metric could place pressure on the ratings. A negative outlook could be considered if there is a sustained deterioration of its cash flows or an increase in leverage resulting in the ratio of CFO (pre-w/c) to debt falling below 10% for an extended period at DLH.

Ratings upgraded include:

Duquesne Light Company

LT Issuer Rating to A3 from Baa1

Preferred Stock to Baa2 from Baa3

First Mortgage Bonds to A1 from A2

Rating confirmed include:

Duquesne Light Holdings

Senior Unsecured at Baa3

The principal methodology used in this rating was Regulated Electric and Gas Utilities published in December 2013. Please see the Credit Policy page on for a copy of this methodology.


For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

John Grause
Infrastructure Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

William L. Hess
MD - Utilities
Infrastructure Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's upgrades Duquesne Light Company and confirms Duquesne Light Holdings; Outlooks stable
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