LOS ANGELES -- Despite challenges of a stagnant economy and regulatory uncertainty that have been bearing down on U.S. public utilities in recent years, Standard & Poor’s said it believes the sector’s credit quality will remain solid and ratings stable in 2013.

“This will be in large part due to the effects of continued low gas prices, which influence electricity costs, public power’s rate-setting autonomy, and a lack of competition for retail customers,” said credit analyst Jeffrey Panger in a recent report.

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