Aquila ( ILA) said its loss widened in the second quarter, hurt by a repositioning program. The electricity and natural gas service provider lost $155 million, or 41 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with a loss of $27.2 million, or 6 cents a share, a year ago. The current quarter's loss includes $218 million of charges related to an assignment of the company's Elwood tolling contracts and $22.7 million of costs associated with the early retirement of $350 million in debt. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting the company to lose 5 cents a share. Second-quarter revenue rose 7.7% to $283 million as against analysts' expectation of $267.2 million in the most recent quarter. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for electric utilities increased 37.9% to $38.9 million in the second quarter. For gas utilities, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $2.6 million in the quarter, compared with a loss of $1 million a year ago. Merchant services reported a loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $224.6 million in the second quarter compared with a gain of $7 million in the second quarter of 2005, due to $218 million charge related to the assignment of the Elwood tolling contracts. "We have executed the initial phase of our debt reduction plan using proceeds received from asset sales through June,'' the Kansas City, Mo.-based company said. "Our repositioning plan continues to strengthen the company's financial position, creating a stable platform to provide the energy needed to meet the growing demand in the communities we serve."