DC Water leverages stellar AAA credit rating and GB1 green bond rating for $300 million bond offering

February 01, 2017

Yesterday DC Water issued $300 million in tax-exempt, fixed rate bonds, including $100 million designated as Green Bonds, leveraging the AAA credit rating upgrade by Standard and Poor’s (S&P) last year and its new GB1 rating, Moody’s highest possible green bond assessment. 

The AAA rating is the highest a utility can achieve and is the highest rating ever earned by DC Water and its predecessor agencies. Combined, these two ratings made DC Water’s bonds highly desirable with the 35-year term bond (2052) priced to yield 3.48%. Strong credit ratings enable the Authority to issue debt at lower borrowing costs, which in turn reduces ratepayer costs in the long run. 

"We are proud to continue our market leadership and environmental stewardship with our successful bond sale," said CEO and General Manager George S. Hawkins. "This allows DC Water to make critical capital investments in our system to deliver the high quality service that our customers have come to expect, at the lowest possible cost that our ratepayers dearly need." 

The proceeds of the Green Bonds will be used to finance a portion of the DC Clean Rivers Project, a $2.7 billion dollar effort to significantly reduce combined sewer overflows into waterways in the District of Columbia. The project achieves several green benefits including improving water quality for the District and providing flood mitigation and waterway restoration. 

"We are delighted with the results of our bond sale," said Mark Kim, DC Water’s Chief Financial Officer, "which includes DC Water’s first ever AAA-rated bond by S&P and our first green bond to carry Moody’s highest green bond assessment rating of GB1." 

It is the Authority’s third green bond issuance in as many years. In 2014, the Authority issued $350 million in Green Century Bonds — the first century bond issued by a water utility in the United States, and the first "certified" green bond in the U.S. debt capital markets with an independent second party opinion on sustainability.