Signifying continued financial improvement and PWSA’s progress as a modern, forward-looking utility
Pittsburgh, PA… Moody’s Investors Services (Moody’s) recently increased the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s (PWSA) credit outlook from stable to positive, signifying continued financial improvement and PWSA’s progress as a modern, forward-looking utility.
Moody’s rating action also affirms a credit rating of A3 on PWSA’s First Lien Revenue bonds. The A3 revenue rating reflects an improved financial position and stable governance. PWSA has increased our cash balance and achieved a record level of capital investment as we continue to boost our reserve funding to ensure maximum ﬁnancial ﬂexibility. The positive rating outlook acts as a PWSA credit report for investors and reaffirms PWSA’s investment grade credit status. Investment grade credit status typically results in lower interest rates that will save PWSA and the ratepayers money in the long term.
In addition to our sound financial practices, Moody’s cites our “enhanced workforce and management structure” as a factor in the rating increase. Workforce development has been identified as a top priority by PWSA leaders through our Core Values and the Water Equity Roadmap. In recent years, PWSA has made significant progress attracting, retaining, and promoting exceptional personnel to ensure the Authority’s continued progress.
“While we have been investing in our capital program, we have also been investing in our people,” says Will Pickering, PWSA’s Chief Executive Officer. “I am proud of our ambitious workforce program that has created a supportive environment for current and future employees.”
In 2022, PWSA’s Human Resources Department developed and facilitated an internal 8-week Management Development Program for 72 people-managers to foster professional development and leadership opportunities. In 2023, PWSA hosted instructors from the Public Utilities and Waterworks Management Institute to ensure certified staff increased skillsets and obtained professional course credits.
Additionally, we entered into agreements with multiple local organizations and school districts including Pittsburgh Public Schools, Propel Charter Schools, Manchester Bidwell Training Center, and Homewood YMCA Career and Workforce Center for providing workforce development opportunities that builds community and supports collaboration, talent attraction, and social impact initiatives.
“Our financial practices are a large part of our credit rating,” says Logan Carmichael, PWSA’s Chief People and Culture Officer, “But none of the work is possible without a motivated and diverse workforce. We look forward to expanding our community partnerships and student career initiatives throughout 2023.”
Since 2018, PWSA has implemented extensive improvements to its financial practices and policies with support from its Board of Directors. These efforts have resulted in stronger financial stewardship. In addition, PWSA has successfully secured low-interest loans and grants from state and federal agencies, built its reserve funding, and has improved debt management.
On July 3rd, PWSA closed on a bond transaction to issue new capital and refinance historic debt under more competitive terms. These actions demonstrate how improved financial practices and our strong credit standing will ultimately benefit customers and our overall financial health.
Additionally, our socially directed programs such as lead service line replacements and expanding financial assistance programs to those who need it most are viewed as favorable attributes to address affordability and equity.
“Improved financial practices and prudent financial management are essential factors contributing to this improved financial outlook,” said Ed Barca, PWSA Financial Director. “With unprecedented investment in PWSA’s water systems and an uncertain economy, our financial performance and fiscal responsibility is critically important now more than ever. We are doing everything possible to reduce capital costs and over time, generate savings for ratepayers.”