Omaha, Neb. – Citing “strong financial metrics and low debt,” S&P Global Ratings has upgraded the Metropolitan Utilities District’s gas system credit rating to “AA+” with a “stable outlook.” M.U.D. was previously rated “AA” by the rating agency. At the “AA+” rating level, the District’s gas system is now the highest rated municipal gas system of those to which S&P assigns credit ratings.
The issuer credit rating was assigned by S&P Global Ratings as part of the District’s obligations under certain of its gas purchase contracts. The District’s publicly held outstanding gas system indebtedness is rated “Aa2” by Moody’s Investors Service and is not rated by S&P Global Ratings.
“We appreciate the upgrade by S&P and are proud we now carry the highest credit rating of any municipal gas system,” said M.U.D. President Mark Doyle. “We feel it validates our board and staff’s careful financial planning, policies and focus on managing our rates to reflect our costs of operations.”
In its assessment of the gas system, S&P recognized the strong economic fundamentals of the system’s service area. S&P also noted the District’s low debt burden. The rating agency also described the operations and management of the system as “very strong,” highlighting the District practices of purchasing gas from a diverse set of suppliers, under various pre-pay contracts offering discounts to market prices. Additionally, M.U.D. was commended for regularly updating financial forecasts and capital plans as well as maintaining rates that reflect changes in underlying gas costs. Finally, S&P noted that the District’s rates compare favorably with those in other municipalities with similar operating conditions.
M.U.D. Chief Financial Officer Joseph Schaffart said, “The upgraded credit rating is an independent assessment that the financial policies and practices employed by the board and staff of the District are working. It also means a lower cost of capital anytime we borrow money. This is very good news.”
About Metropolitan Utilities District: The mission of the Metropolitan Utilities District, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective natural gas and water services to our community. The District is the fifth largest public natural gas utility in the United States, serving more than 231,000 customer-owners in Omaha, Bennington, Fort Calhoun, Springfield, Yutan and Bellevue. The District also provides safe, high quality drinking water to more than 216,000 customer-owners in Omaha, Bellevue, Bennington, Carter Lake, La Vista, Ralston, Waterloo and the Papio-Missouri Natural Resources District (which supplies water to Fort Calhoun). For more information, visit www.mudomaha.com.