Mayor Mike McGinn announced today that Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has affirmed Seattle City Light’s bond rating as AA- and a stable outlook. This rating is good news for ratepayers and independent validation that City Light is in good financial condition.
“Maintaining an AA- bond rating is essential for Seattle City Light to continue providing excellent service for residents of our city,” said McGinn. “But we aren’t out of the woods yet. Seattle City Light is facing serious challenges, including a shortfall in revenues due to a far below average snowpack. As chair of the Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Committee, Councilmember Bruce Harrell has played a key role in facing these challenges. I thank him for his hard work and I look forward to continuing my work with him. I know that we are both committed to a sustainable path for Seattle City Light to ensure that the utility remains a national leader.”
The bond rating for City Light was reduced several times after the on-set of the West Coast energy crisis in 2000. In January 2001, City Light received an AA-/Negative rating. By July, 2003, the rating had dropped to A/Negative. The turnaround began in December, 2004 with an A/Positive rating. In 2008 City Light was up-graded to AA-.
“Our decision to create a Rate Stabilization Account and develop best practices for our financial policies and risk management efforts, all lead to a rating that will benefit our residents, low income customers, and businesses, both small and large. We will be able to invest in our infrastructure and maintain our commitment for low, competitive rates,” Harrell said.
Superintendent Carrasco was pleased with the vote of confidence from S&P. ”Given the current economy, this is great news. City Light has worked hard to control costs, pay down debt, and together with the City Council, have put into place new financial policies that have strengthened our financial position,” he said. “These steps are paying off and ultimately, our customers benefit.”
About Seattle City Light
Seattle City Light is the ninth largest public electric utility in the United States and was the first electric utility in 2005 to be greenhouse gas neutral and remains net zero today. City Light has the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents.