Chelan County PUD received some outstanding news from S&P Global Ratings (S&P) as a result of a recent review announced May 16. S&P upgraded the PUD’s Consolidated System debt to AA+/Stable from AA/Stable. This rating puts Chelan PUD in the top five public utilities highly rated by S&P. The AA+/Stable rating matches one received from Fitch Ratings in October 2008 and affirmed in September 2017.
Some of the reasons for the S&P rating upgrade include:
- Chelan PUD’s very strong risk management and financial policies
- Rapidly declining debt
- Improved cash position/liquidity
- Experienced management team
- Extremely low-cost power
S&P noted that the PUD achieved these accomplishments without a retail rate increase in six years. The PUD’s low rates give the utility financial flexibility. In addition to the PUD’s financial strength and stability, our low operating costs from our hydropower generation also contributed to our positive review. S&P also commented on the PUD’s surplus generation hedging practices as beneficial to reducing the impact of energy market volatility on the PUD’s revenues.
“We are pleased with the outcome of S&P’s independent review of our financial health,” stated Chelan PUD Chief Financial Officer, Kelly Boyd. “Our Board of Commissioners has set strong financial policies, and we are committed to them as an organization. It takes the high performance of the entire organization to achieve such strong results.
Our strong financial policies and prudent operating practices will serve us well as we move into a future with changing electric wholesale markets and an evolving retail customer base.”
Chelan PUD will begin its next five-year strategic planning process later this year. Maintaining its strong financial position will be a key component for investment and operating strategies into the 2020s.