Pittsburgh, PA — The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s Board of Directors were pleased to accept the results of our 2020 Audit at their April 2021 meeting. This is the sixth consecutive unqualified independent financial audit, completed by an external auditor, showing that the Authority's financial statements are fairly and appropriately presented, with no identifiable exceptions, and in compliance with generally accepted principles of accounting.
PWSA remains committed to following all applicable accounting standards while making critical infrastructure investments that will improve the level of service for all customers. PWSA spent $127.3 million on capital projects in 2020—an increase of $19.4 million, or approximately 18 percent, over the $107.9 million expended in 2019. PWSA spent $18.8 million on private lead line replacements in 2020.
Our responsible approach to investment, including the use of low-interest loans and grants from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST), helps us execute our ambitious capital improvement plan while prioritizing ratepayer savings. As of the most recent round of funding we have received approximately $160.6 million from PENNVEST, saving ratepayers a total of $112.0 million since 2018.
In 2020, the Authority closed on a funding award from PENNVEST for the purpose of financing the 2020 Small Diameter Water Main Replacement Project. This award, a $65.2 million loan with an interest rate of 1.00%, continues to fund the replacement of approximately 80,000 feet of water mains and associated connections, including the replacement of public and private lead service lines. In addition, we were recently awarded a $35.5 million low-interest PENNVEST loan and $3.0 million PENNVEST grant totaling $38.5 million to replace 25,000 feet of water service lines throughout our drinking water service area.
Last year, the Authority also completed two significant bond transactions. These transactions led to the assignment of investment-grade credit status, which typically results in lower interest rates that save money in the long term.
“The results of this audit underscore our commitment to transparency,” said Ed Barca, PWSA’s Director of Finance. “Striking a fair balance between rates and our budget remains a chief priority, and we will continue to pursue funding sources that save ratepayer dollars.”
An audit is an official, independent examination of an entity’s accounts and financial information. An unqualified opinion is formed only when the results of this inspection leave no doubt or concerns on the part of the independent auditor as to the soundness of an entity’s financial practices.
The independent audit, performed by Maher Duessel, Certified Public Accountants, verifies that an entity follows standard accounting practices and confirms that department-wide financial processes accomplish the Authority's overall goal to use public funds responsibly.
“Our 2020 Audit reflects the dedicated public service of our Finance Department, who are working tirelessly to ensure that every ratepayer dollar is being used effectively and appropriately,” said Will Pickering, PWSA’s Chief Executive Officer.