(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / Jan. 8, 2018) — S&P Global Ratings has affirmed its AA- rating with a stable outlook on the Stillwater Utilities Authority (SUA) utility system and sales tax revenue bonds.
S&P issued the original AA- rating with a stable outlook in 2014 when the SUA offered for sale revenue bonds for the construction of the Stillwater Energy Center (SEC).
After completing a routine review of the SUA, S&P reported the following factors as credit-strengths:
Exceptionally strong financial metrics.
City Council's obligation to annually transfer to the authority proceeds from the one-cent sales tax (as approved by the voters in 1979 for any utility purpose).
An all-requirements contract with Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) for the purchase of power that extends through May 31, 2042, with an additional provision for other payments made to SUA for its Stillwater Energy Center’s capacity. These capacity payments from GRDA are expected to cover the debt payments for the SEC.
S&P further stated: “In our opinion, the authority’s financial performance has been very strong during the past three years.”
“Across the nation, there are only a few municipal electric systems that have the same or higher rating as Stillwater,” Deputy City Manager and SUA Director Dan Blankenship said. “In our region, only Lincoln, Neb., and Springfield, Mo., have higher ratings. They are both rated AA and they both have a significantly larger customer base.
“To our south in Texas, we share the same rating as Austin and are only surpassed by San Antonio with a AA+ rating. We are very proud to receive another positive report card from a global rating agency as it speaks very well for our community.”
City Manager Norman McNickle added, “Stillwater residents are fortunate to have outstanding professionals looking after our infrastructure and making sure that our finances are in great shape. Everything we do in our utility authority is for the direct benefit of our rate payers and the community as a whole.”
With the City’s population approaching 49,000, the SUA provides electricity to about 21,000 customers, water to about 17,430 customers and solid waste management services to about 14,650 customers.
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