WSSC Water Retains Premier AAA Bond Rating and Adds Highest Rating Possible for Green Bonds
All Three Agencies Note Strong Financial Performance
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sale of First-Ever Green Bonds Underscores Environmental Mission
Laurel, Md. – December 17, 2019 – Once again, WSSC Water earned AAA bond ratings from all three financial rating agencies: Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and Moody’s Investor Service. The ratings followed a briefing WSSC Water provided the agencies on the financial performance, adopted Operating and Capital Improvements Program budgets and multi-year projections.
In awarding the highest rating possible, the firms noted several key factors: a sizeable, diverse and growing tax base; stable, solid financial performance; affordable rates; and sustainable long-term approach to debt management.
“Securing this coveted rating again demonstrates our sound fiscal practices and comprehensive efforts to keep costs down and rates as low as possible,” said WSSC Water General Manager and CEO Carla A. Reid.
In related news, WSSC Water recently issued $234 million in General Obligation bonds, including $54 million in Green Bonds – the first time WSSC Water issued these environmentally focused bonds. The winning bidder was Bank of America with the lowest true interest cost of 2.64 percent.
“At our core, WSSC Water is an environmental organization committed to protecting our drinking water sources, preventing pollution, enhancing water quality and adapting to climate change,” added Reid. “The proceeds from the first series of Green Bonds will enable us to invest in projects that support our clean water mission.”
Green bonds are issued specifically to fund projects with significant environmental benefits. The proceeds from the sale will fund the following three projects:
- Potomac Water Filtration Plant (WFP) Upgrades ($9.2 million in Green Bonds),
- Potomac WFP Pre-Filter Chlorination & Scour Improvements ($7.4 million in Green Bonds); and
- Large-Diameter Water Pipe & Large-Valve Rehabilitation Program ($37.4 million in Green Bonds).
The issuance of green bonds required development of the WSSC Water Green Bond Framework documenting the specific use of the bond proceeds, the criteria and process for evaluation and selection of projects, the management of the proceeds and ongoing reporting on key performance indicators.
The Green Bonds were rated E1 by S&P, the highest rating possible by that rating agency, based on the very strong governance and solid transparency of the Green Bond Framework, as well as the strong mitigation benefits of the selected projects.
Information on the new Green Bond Program can be found on WSSC Water’s website: www.wsscwater.com/greenbond.
WSSC Water is the proud provider of safe, seamless and satisfying water services, making the essential possible every day for our neighbors in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. We work to deliver our best because it’s what our customers expect and deserve.