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EARNINGS RISE 15.23% AT PACIFICORP

PacifiCorp, parent company of Utah Power and other subsidiaries, Thursday reported first quarter earnings of $121 million or 42 cents per share, up 15.23 percent over the same period last year.

Colder winter weather that boosted electricity sales was cited for much of the increase.A spokesman for the utility, based in Portland, Ore., said all of its major businesses showed increases during the quarter. Average domestic retail electric customers increased 2 percent, telephone customer access lines rose 5 percent (not including acquisitions), and customer load growth at Powercor, PacifiCorp's Australian operation acquired in December, increased 3 percent.

Due to an "abundance" of hydroelectric power in PacifiCorp's Northwest region during the quarter, wholesale and spot market prices declined 43 percent from a year ago, but the company's wholesale business still showed substantial gains as sales volumes rose 73 percent and revenues increased 25 percent.

"We experienced strong growth in our domestic electric and telecommunications businesses during the quarter, and we are pleased that Powercor has gotten off to a good start," said Fred Buckman, president and chief executive officer.

"We are committed to seeing that our strong growth profile and innovative, strategic transactions like our acquisition of Powercor and our new marketing agreement with Big Rivers Electric Corporation produce superior returns for our shareholders."

PacifiCorp signed an agreement last month to work jointly with Big Rivers over the next year in marketing surplus power from the western Kentucky utility's coal-fired power plants.