After Southern California Edison refused to pay $596 million in debt obligations last week, the company was forced to cut off power to millions in the San Francisco area. In effect, Standard & Poor's Corporate Ratings Group downgraded the corporate bonds of two major California utilities.

According to Bern Fischer, a director with Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, the corporate group downgraded SoCal Edison's bond rating to D, for default. "The D reflects their decision not to make payments that were due on maturing debt obligations," Fischer said.

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