Charleston Water System Earns Triple-A Ratings from Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s

Top ratings lower borrowing costs for new infrastructure

CHARLESTON, South Carolina – Charleston Water System (CWS) once again earned the highest possible bond credit ratings from Moody's Investors Service (Moody’s) at Aaa and Standard & Poor’s S&P Global Ratings (S&P) at AAA. Both Triple-A ratings apply to CWS’s $40.7 million Waterworks and Sewer System Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2017. In addition, both research agencies also maintain their Triple-A rating on the system's $567.7 million existing revenue bonds. CWS is the only water and wastewater utility in South Carolina to hold a Triple-A rating from Moody’s.

These ratings reflect CWS’s sizeable, regionally important service area that is projected to experience continual growth, as well as low risk operations and strong operational and fiscal management. High liquidity also played an important role in the top ratings.

“These stellar ratings reflect our utility’s hard work, strategic planning, and financial integrity,” said Kin Hill, CEO at CWS. “We are very grateful to have an outstanding Board of Commissioners whose commitment, diligence, and support help us excel in all areas, with a particular emphasis on financial management.”

Strong bond ratings help utilities secure low interest rates and market their bonds at the lowest interest rates possible, which both help to minimize water and sewer rate increases needed to repay debt. CWS operations are funded through water and sewer rates and fees, new development impact fees, and interest income.

“We exist to serve our customers and we’re dedicated to providing outstanding service at the lowest possible cost, so saving money is always a top priority,” said Wesley Ropp, CFO at CWS. “The substantial savings we receive from Triple-A ratings allows us to keep market rates low and invest in capital projects critical to system-wide infrastructure improvement.”

The CWS current Capital Improvement Program consists of critical water and sewer infrastructure projects including:

West Ashley Sewer Tunnel Replacement Project to allow greater capacity of wastewater to travel from West Ashley to the Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Plant

  • Ashley River Waterline Project will establish a third connection across or under the Ashley River
  • Peninsula Water Main Rehabilitation – Phase 2
  • New facilities at the Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, including pre-treatment, primary clarifiers, and final settling tanks
  • Sanitary Sewer Interceptor Rehabilitation
  • Johns Island Wastewater Interceptor System: Phase 2
  • Red Top Interceptor Wastewater Interceptor System: Phase 2
  • Rehabilitation of the gravity sewer trunk mains that serve the Highway 61 corridor and Johns Island
  • Replacement of a 110-year-old settling basin at the Hanahan Water Treatment Plant.

About Charleston Water System
Charleston Water System is a public water and wastewater utility that provides water service to more than 400,000 people in the Greater Charleston area and sewer service to some 180,000 people, primarily in the City of Charleston. Learn more at www.charlestonwater.com.

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