As if it's not enough that Exelon Corp.'s Peco Energy customers in much of suburban Philadelphia face another day without electric power:
Exelon shares hit a seven-year low of $33.50 this morning after the Chicago-based company and other utilities warned it might cut its dividend payments to investors.
Shares of the Chicago-based owner of Peco Energy and other utilities fell more than $1 in early trading today, following yesterday's $2.20 drop. Shares had topped $90 in 2008 but fell as power demand declined in the recession.
The latest drop follows yesterday's admission by chief executive Christopher Crane, after reporting disappointing third-quarter profits, that "revisiting our dividend policy will be in the range of options" if power prices don't rise soon. Crane said he would cut costs to shore up Exelon's credit rating, ensuring it can keep borrowing money cheaply, even if that means deferring digital system upgrades at nuclear power plants, cutting the dividend, and other expense savings.