Moody's Investors Service announced that it has lowered California Water Service Company's debt rating from Aa3 to A1, citing continued delays by the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission) in granting rate relief and ongoing capital spending requirements as its primary reasons for the decision. California Water Service Company (Cal Water) is the largest subsidiary of California Water Service Group (NYSE:CWT). Moody's previously placed the Company's debt rating on "review" status on October 3, 2002.
"Prior to this decision, the Company had the highest debt rating in the water industry. Of course, we do not like to lose such a distinction, but we do understand Moody's concerns about regulatory delays," said Cal Water Chief Financial Officer Gerald F. Feeney. "We have worked proactively to blunt the effects of a difficult regulatory climate, and we believe our improved 2002 results are evidence that those efforts are yielding dividends," he said.
According to Feeney, the Company will continue to seek fair and reasonable rate relief to build stockholder value. California Water Service Group is the parent company of California Water Service Company, Washington Water Service Company, New Mexico Water Service Company, and CWS Utility Services. The subsidiaries provide regulated and non-regulated water service to over 1.7 million people in 98 communities. The Company's common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "CWT."