Pittsburgh, PA – S&P Global Ratings (S&P) recently upgraded the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s (PWSA) credit rating to ‘A+.’ This is the first credit upgrade PWSA has received in over ten years.
On October 12th, S&P raised its rating on PWSA’s first-lien revenue bonds to ‘A+’ while simultaneously increasing its rating on subordinate-lien revenue bonds to ‘A.’ This upgrade moves PWSA’s rating to the highest level attainable in the upper medium investment grade category with the first-lien revenue bonds rated ‘A+.’
S&P noted conservative budgeting practices as PWSA works to implement an ambitious $1.4 billion capital program, stable leadership and governance, and successful rate cases with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) as positive factors contributing to the rating upgrade.
“S&P’s credit rating upgrade is independent recognition that PWSA is heading in the right direction,” said Alex Sciulli, PWSA’s Board Chair. “With conservative financial practices, customers can have confidence that PWSA is using ratepayer dollars wisely and is planning for improvements that will better serve Pittsburgh today and for future generations.”
“The upgrade from S&P is yet another recognition of PWSA’s recent progress,” said PWSA CEO Will Pickering. “As stewards of a vital public asset, sound financial practices are essential for delivering quality water services at the lowest possible cost for our customers.”
The improved rating from S&P is expected to reduce the future cost of borrowing that is necessary to fund PWSA’s major construction projects. As a non-profit municipal authority, PWSA will pass along the savings directly to our customers.
Since 2018, PWSA has implemented extensive improvements to its financial practices and policies with support from its Board of Directors. These efforts have resulted in stronger financial stewardship. In addition, PWSA has successfully secured low-interest loans and grants from state and federal agencies, built its reserve funding, and has improved debt management. These factors contributed to S&P’s increase in our credit ranking.
Additionally, our socially directed programs such as lead service line replacements and expanding financial assistance programs to those who need it most were viewed as favorable attributes to address affordability and equity.
“Improved financial performance as a result of prudent financial management practices was one of the biggest factors that lead to this upgrade,” says Ed Barca, Director of Finance. “In addition, this credit upgrade further highlights PWSA’s commitment to investing in our water, wastewater, and stormwater systems while being fiscally responsible with ratepayer dollars. The investment we are making today will ensure safe, reliable water services now and for future generations of PWSA customers.”