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New Credit Rating for Arkansas Electric Cooperatives

Standard & Poor’s affirms Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation’s “AA” rating.
LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) — Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC), the wholesale power provider for the state’s 17 electric distribution cooperatives, recently had its “AA” long-term credit rating affirmed by Standard & Poor’s financial rating service.

According to Michael Henderson, executive vice president and chief financial officer for AECC, the rating is based, in part, on strong financial performance and low risk profile, a strong equity position, solid debt coverage, wholesale rate stability and cost recovery performance.

“The rating results in more favorable loan rates for AECC and ultimately affordable rates for Arkansas electric cooperative members,” Henderson said. “AECC’s 17 local member systems currently enjoy the lowest electric wholesale rates among AECC’s peers in the United States. The cooperative’s favorable wholesale rates provide the distribution cooperatives with more room to absorb unexpected cost adjustments, while also providing great opportunities for economic development and growth.”

AECC’s wholesale industrial rates are lower than its peers in neighboring states making Arkansas’ electric cooperative service areas attractive for industrial growth and expansion, he said.

“The cooperative business model is alive and well in Arkansas,” he said. “AECC is the most financially sound G&T among its national peers thanks to sound planning and firm cost controls. Guidance and direction from our democratically elected board of directors, strong employee workforce and cooperative relationships with state and federal regulatory agencies also contribute to AECC’s successful position.”

AECC, one of 65 generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives in the United States, is one of two G&Ts to receive a “AA” credit rating from Standard & Poor’s.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.

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