Middlesex Water Co. reports higher earnings for 2002

Middlesex Water Co. on Friday reported earnings of $7.5 million, or $.97 per share on a diluted basis, for the year ended December 31, 2002, compared with $6.7 million, or $.88 per share, in 2001.

ISELIN, N.J., Feb. 3, 2003 -- Middlesex Water Co. on Friday reported earnings of $7.5 million, or $.97 per share on a diluted basis, for the year ended December 31, 2002, compared with $6.7 million, or $.88 per share, in 2001.

Although drought restrictions imposed on our New Jersey services territories resulted in lower consumption, consolidated operating revenues for the twelve months ended December 31, 2002 rose to a record $61.9 million, up 3.9% over 2001 revenues of $59.6 million. Middlesex was fortunate that approved rate increases implemented in the prior year were in place to offset lost sales due to the drought restrictions. An 8% interim rate increase and a jump in our customer base of 10.3% in Delaware also pushed revenues higher.

Our New Jersey regulated operations expenses were favorably impacted by drought restrictions as water production costs fell 3.3%. This helped to lessen the impact of increased business insurance costs as well as increased Delaware operating costs associated with the customer base increase. Lower interest rates helped to moderate the interest expense increase as the company continues to finance its significant capital program.

Dividends paid during the year were $0.845 per share compared to $0.83 per share paid in 2001.

The Board of Directors of Middlesex Water Company declared a quarterly dividend of $0.215 per share on the Common Stock, payable on February 28, 2003, to stockholders of record as of February 14, 2003. The company has paid cash dividends in varying amounts continually since 1912 and the dividend has been increased in each year since 1973. Middlesex Water has a Dividend Reinvestment Plan under which dividends and optional cash payments can be used to purchase additional shares of Common Stock.

5% Discount to Dividend Reinvestment Plan Participants

For a limited time, the company is offering up to 150,000 shares of its Common Stock at a 5% discount to participants in its Dividend Reinvestment and Common Stock Purchase Plan. The offer applies to all purchases under the Plan made between February 28, 2003 and September 2, 2003, whether by Optional Cash Payment, Dividend Reinvestment or Employee Payroll Deduction.

About the company

Middlesex Water Company, organized in 1897, is a water utility serving customers in central and southern New Jersey and in the State of Delaware. The company and its New Jersey subsidiaries -- Pinelands Water Company and Pinelands Wastewater Company -- are subject to the regulations of the Board of Public Utilities of the State of New Jersey. Middlesex Water Company operates the water and wastewater systems for the City of Perth Amboy through its subsidiary, Utility Service Affiliates (Perth Amboy), Inc. The company's Delaware subsidiary, Tidewater Utilities, Inc., is subject to the regulations of the Public Service Commission in Delaware. These companies are also subject to various Federal and State regulatory agencies concerning water quality standards.

For additional information regarding Middlesex Water Company, visit the company's web site at www.middlesexwater.com or call 732/634-1500.


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