RIVERSIDE, Calif., May 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Years of excellent financial, operational, and managerial supervision of the city's public water utility were rewarded last week as Standard & Poor's Rating Services (S&P) raised its underlying rating on Riverside Public Utilities' (RPU) water revenue bonds to its highest category of AAA, and assigned their top A-1+ short-term rating to RPU's 2011A variable rate refunding water revenue bonds.
"This is a major milestone for both our water utility and the City," said RPU's Assistant General Manager Finance/Administration Reiko Kerr. "This is the highest rating ever received by the City for a bond issuance, and it puts Riverside in an elite category shared by only a handful of California's top retail water providers."
What that means for RPU's more than 64,000 water customers is that the utility will be able to receive a lower interest rate when it refinances its short-term bonds, thus helping to keep Riverside's water rates among the lowest in its Southern California service territory. Additionally, by having S&P's top rating for long-term debt, RPU provides the highest degree of confidence to its bondholders, while ensuring the lowest cost funding for future projects that will help maintain the city's high quality, reliable water services and its water delivery and storage infrastructure.
S&P's Credit Analyst Paul Dyson cited that the agency's decision to upgrade RPU to their highest rating level was based upon the agency's review of Riverside's very strong and consistent financial performance and metrics, which included: strong liquidity and coverage; an advantageous water supply position; a very diverse customer base; revenue flexibility provided by the city's very competitive rates; and the city council's willingness to adjust rates as it deems necessary to provide capital funding.
"These ratings upgrades would not have happened without the ongoing leadership and support from RPU's management, its board of public utilities, and city council," Kerr said. "Their commitments over the years to safeguard the utility's overall financial health, to the benefit of its customer-owners, are why we now carry these top marks from S&P."
Established in 1895, Riverside Public Utilities is a consumer-owned water and electric utility governed by a board of nine community volunteers that provides high quality, reliable services to over 106,000 metered electric customers and 64,000 metered water customers throughout the City of Riverside. The Utility is committed to increased use of renewable energy resources and sustainable living practices that help reduce environmental impacts within the City of Riverside and the state of California.
SOURCE Riverside Public Utilities