PWSB Bond Rating Improves as Financial Practices improve Liquidity
PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Mayor Donald Grebien today announced that Standard & Poor’s has upgraded the rating on the Pawtucket Water Supply Board’s outstanding Revenue Bonds to ‘A+’ with a Stable outlook. The Mayor said, “this is great news and I want to compliment and thank the Board and staff of the PWSB for their hard work and efforts to invest in improvements of the water infrastructure for our City and ratepayers.”
The outstanding revenue bonds were issued in 2015 to refinance the original 2004 bonds issued to finance the Water Treatment Plant.
“This upgrade from S&P is recognition of the management of the PWSB capital improvements and financial position,” continued Mayor Grebien, adding that “the Stable outlook shows the rating agency’s confidence that the Board and Management will continue to enact policies and procedures that will benefit the PWSB and its ratepayers.”
S&P states in the report that “The stable outlook reflects our expectation that PWSB will continue to invest in its utility system while raising rates and adjusting the budget as necessary to continue with financial results generally in line with historical trends. We positively view the board’s efforts to maintain rate affordability and good Debt Service Coverage.” The report also notes that PWSB management has been proactive in taking measures to adequately fund its $73.2 million 20-year capital improvement plan (CIP) through a combination of debt and paygo funds from ongoing operating revenues.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished,” said James DeCelles, PWSB Chief Engineer and General Manager, who thanked the members of the Board for their oversight and cited Robert Benson, Chief Financial Officer for his stewardship of PWSB finances. “As a regulated municipal utility, we still have more work to do as S&P notes future capital improvement needs and inflation. However, we have been moving in the right direction and plan to continue on this path. A higher bond rating signals lower risk to investors. This results in lower interest costs for future bond issues, which is good for the ratepayers.”
The review was conducted in connection with Standard & Poor’s regular surveillance of the rating on the PWSB issued through Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank.