As the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust plans to break ground soon on a 100-mile Atoka to OKC waterline, the Trust has learned it has earned the highest possible ratings from Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings and Moody’s.
They are two of the nation’s most respected financial rating agencies.
The agencies reaffirmed OCWUT’s AAA and Aaa ratings in reports released in May and March. The ratings place OCWUT among the top 7% and 5%, respectively, for municipal water and wastewater utilities nationwide.
In its report, Standard & Poor’s commended OCWUT for its “extremely strong enterprise and financial risk profiles … (and) strong liquidity levels,” and its position as Oklahoma’s largest water utility and regional water supplier with “ample water supply to meet future demand.” It also cited the utility’s “strong asset management, capital and drought plans” as reasons for its high ratings.
In March, Moody’s affirmed OCWUT’s Aaa/Stable rating during its annual review process. It cited OCWUT’s “strong operating performance … robust liquidity” and “strong debt service coverage” for reasons it gave the utility its highest ratings.
“Investors are looking for organizations with not only strong financial practices, but a proven commitment to sustainability and resiliency,” said OKC Utilities Director Chris Browning. “We’re following in the footsteps of past visionary leaders by continuing to invest in our infrastructure and assets, which benefits our customers and our community.”
The high short-term and long-term ratings allow OCWUT to save ratepayers money by borrowing funds at a lower interest rate for critical infrastructure improvements.
OCWUT has implemented a 10-year, $2.5 billion capital plan that includes a new asset management program, a pipeline connecting the Lake Hefner and Lake Stanley Draper treatment areas, and the second 100-mile Atoka pipeline, which will break ground later this year. The utility serves more than 1.4 million customers in Central Oklahoma through its retail and wholesale water programs, and wastewater services program.
“Our customers rely upon us to deliver high quality service, including our commitment to maintaining a strong financial profile,” Browning said. “In turn, that will allow us to continue delivering that same high quality service for future generations.”