Vermont Electric Cooperative, Inc,On March 22, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) raised Vermont Electric Cooperative’s (VEC) credit rating to ‘A-‘ from ‘BBB’ and gave VEC a stable outlook.The improved credit rating reflects S&P’s view that VEC’s leadership in smart meter deployment has led to improvements in system reliability. VEC has also kept rates competitive by successfully reducing operating costs and keeping purchased power costs low, while improving communications with the Vermont Public Service Board (VPSB). “This is great news for VEC’s members,” said David Hallquist, Chief Executive Officer. “As a cooperative, all VEC consumers benefit when our financial position is strong. This improvement in our credit rating helps us to keep rates under control for our members.”S&P recognized that VEC’s rates are competitive in Vermont. Industrial rates are below average and commercial rates are in line with the state average. While residential rates are still above average, VEC expects them to be line with the state average by 2015.”The rating upgrade reflects significant and steady improvements made during the last several years,” said Mike Bursell, Chief Financial Officer. “Despite the recent economic downturn, VEC is stronger than ever and we are running a lean and productive operation. One of our strengths is utilizing technology to improve productivity.”VEC is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative serving approximately 33,000 consumers in 74 towns in its northern Vermont service territory. As Vermont’s third largest electric utility, VEC has led the state and the nation in deploying smart meter technology.www.vermontelectric.coop(link is external).