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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms A1 to American Municipal Power, Inc. (OH) Fremont Energy Center Project Revenue Bonds; outlook stable

11 May 2021

New York, May 11, 2021 -- Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the A1 rating on American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) Fremont Energy Center Project Revenue Bonds with debt outstanding of approximately $479 million. The outlook is stable.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The A1 rating affirmation for American Municipal Power, Inc. - Fremont Energy Center Project's (AFEC) considers the A3 weighted average credit quality of the AFEC participants whose credit quality benefits by the diversity and size of AFEC's participants and their rate-setting authority. AFEC's 86 participants consist of 85 municipal electric utilities and one joint action agency that all have rate setting abilities. The participants have an unconditional take-or-pay obligation to pay all AFEC's O&M and debt service costs. AFEC benefits from a fully funded maximum annual debt service reserve fund, sound plant operating performance, a 25% step-up provision, and access to AMP's $600 million revolving credit loan facility.

AMP's operation of AFEC, a two unit 675 MW natural gas fired combined cycle facility, has provided power resource diversity for AMP's members since it went into commercial operation in January 2012. AFEC has a demonstrated solid operating performance record as measured by availability and capacity factors since its commercial date. During 2019 and 2020, AFEC recorded good operating performance with availability factors of 75% and 79%, and capacity factors of 59.7% and 57.8%, respectively, all of which are in line with historical figures. Due to sustained low natural gas prices, AFEC provides a competitive resource for its participants.

RATING OUTLOOK

The stable outlook reflects our expectation for continued sound plant operating performance, no material changes in AFEC's weighted average participant credit quality, and AFEC's continued sound financial performance given the take-or-pay contractual framework, including a good liquidity profile.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE OF THE RATINGS

- Participant credit quality strengthens

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO A DOWNGRADE OF THE RATINGS

- Significant and extended deterioration in the plant's operating performance

- Participant credit quality declines

LEGAL SECURITY

The AFEC project revenue bonds are payable from and secured solely by the trust estate pledged under the indenture that includes a net revenue pledge by AMP. Each AFEC participant has a fixed project share, and the participant is required to pay AMP on a monthly basis an amount equal to its project share of AMP's revenue requirement. The payments are to be made as an O&M expense of the participant's electric system. The obligation to make payments are incorporated in the long-term take-or-pay contract such that the payments are not subject to any reduction, whether by offset, counterclaim, or for any other reason, nor shall they be conditioned on the performance of AMP, or any participant, and the payment shall be made whether the project is operable, operating, or for any other reason. There is a 25% step-up provision which means if it had to be exercised, the other participants in the AFEC project would have to step-up to 25% of their respective original project shares taking over any defaulted share.

PROFILE

AMP Fremont Energy Center (AFEC) is a natural gas fired, combined cycle, electric power generation plant with a capacity of 512 MW (unfired) / 675 MW (fired), consisting of two Siemens-Westinghouse combustion turbines, two heat recovery steam generators, and one steam turbine and condenser. AFEC's 86 participants are mandated to pay, on a take-or-pay basis, their share of AFEC's total costs as an operating expense of their respective electric system. AFEC went into commercial operation in January 2012 and has had a good operating record.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) is the nonprofit wholesale power supplier and services provider for 135 members in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Maryland and Delaware.

METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was US Municipal Joint Action Agencies Methodology published in August 2020 and available at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1207102. Alternatively, please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

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For further specification of Moody's key rating assumptions and sensitivity analysis, see the sections Methodology Assumptions and Sensitivity to Assumptions in the disclosure form. Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions can be found at: https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_79004.

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Thomas Brigandi
Lead Analyst
Project Finance
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
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JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Kurt Krummenacker
Additional Contact
Project Finance
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
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U.S.A
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

No Related Data.
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