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Subject:   Seattle City Light bond ratings upgraded
For Immediate Release:   
12/4/2008  10:01:00 AM
For More Information Contact:
Scott Thomsen  (206) 386-4233


Ratings service also upgraded bonds for Seattle Public Utilities last month

SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels announced today that Standard & Poors (S&P) has upgraded Seattle City Lights bond rating from A+ to AA- and Moodys Investors Service has upgraded its rating from Aa3 to Aa2. The higher ratings are good news for ratepayers and independent validation that City Light is making good business decisions.

"This is great news for City Light and its customers," Nickels said. "Higher bond ratings mean lower interest rates when the utility borrows money, which ultimately helps to keep rates low. It also demonstrates the effectiveness of the financial management improvements made under City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco over the past four years."

The bond rating for City Light was reduced several times after the West Coast energy crisis in 2000. In January 2001, City Light received an AA-/Negative rating from S&P. By July, 2003, the rating had dropped to A/Negative. The turnaround began in December 2004 with an A/Positive rating and has continued to climb to todays rating announcement.

Todays actions by Moodys and S&P are recognition that the utility is in stronger financial condition. The rating agencies indicated that the new, higher ratings reflect the utilitys hydroelectric-based generation portfolio, a strong and diverse customer base, good financial management and competitive retail rates. They also recognize that City Light benefits by being part of a broader city government with large cash reserves.

Carrasco was pleased with the votes of confidence from the rating agencies. "Over the past four years, City Light has worked hard to control costs, pay down debt, avoid borrowing, and put into place new financial policies that have strengthened our financial position," he said. "Those steps are paying off and we will continue to work hard to provide ratepayers with the best customer-service experience of any utility in the country."

Last month, S&P raised its rating of Seattle Water System bonds from AA to AA+. The city of Seattle successfully raised $205 million through a public offering of water system bonds for building lids on reservoirs and other system improvements by Seattle Public Utilities.

Get the Nickels Newsletter and the mayors inside view on transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities at mayor.seattle.gov



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Seattle City Light is a publicly owned utility dedicated to exceeding our customers' expectations in producing and delivering low cost, reliable power in an environmentally responsible and safe way. We are committed to delivering the best customer service experience of any utility in the nation.

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