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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns Aa2 to Placer County Water Agency, CA's $23.5M Water Revenue COPs, Series 2018 Refunding; affirms rating on parity COPs

13 Mar 2018

Post-issuance, Aa2 rating will apply to about $53.6M water revenue COPs

New York, March 13, 2018 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned an Aa2 rating to Placer County Water Agency, CA's $23.5 million in Water Revenue Certificates of Participation (COPs), Series 2018 Refunding. Concurrently, Moody's affirmed the Aa2 rating on the agency's outstanding water revenue COPs. Post-issuance, the agency will have $73.2 million in outstanding debt, of which $53.6 million is Moody's-rated COPs.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The Aa2 rating reflects the agency's very strong debt service coverage and liquidity; a large and growing water system with plentiful water supply; manageable debt levels; and strong rate management, which has enabled the agency to recover significant cost increases. The rating incorporates our expectation that rates and costs will be managed to provide healthy debt service coverage consistent with the rating level, while also addressing the capital needs of both aging infrastructure and system expansion due to population growth. The rating further incorporates the weakened legal provisions resulting from elimination of the debt service reserve with the current refunding, which is offset by the agency's very strong liquidity position.

RATING OUTLOOK

Outlooks are usually not assigned to local government credits with this amount of debt outstanding.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE

- Sustained increase in debt service coverage from operating revenues

- Material and sustained increase in cash on hand

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO A DOWNGRADE

- Material decrease in debt service coverage

- Significant decline in cash reserves

LEGAL SECURITY

All of the agency's COPs are secured by a parity lien on the net water revenues of its Western Water System. The agency is obligated to make installment payments to the Placer County Water Agency Public Facilities Corporation.

USE OF PROCEEDS

Proceeds from the 2018 COPs, along with other agency funds including debt service reserve, will be used to refund the agency's outstanding 2008 COPs. The refunding will allow for overall savings to the agency, which can be used for capital projects and operating needs.

PROFILE

The Placer County Water Agency was created by a special act of the California legislature in 1957 to develop and operate water facilities in Placer County. Under this act, the agency can form service zones to provide sufficient water for present and future beneficial uses. Prior to 1975, the Placer County Board of Supervisors served as the governing board, since which time, the agency has been governed by an independent, elected board of directors. Although the agency is involved in water and energy production throughout the 1,500 square mile county, its water system serves a 360 square mile area in the more populous western portion of the county.

The agency's water division serves 36,811 retail treated water accounts and provides treated water on a wholesale basis to several purveyors, which sell it directly to their customers. In addition, the agency provides untreated water to 4,226 customers. The agency-wide division is involved in watershed planning, groundwater management, regional infrastructure, and conjunctive use projects, as well as advocating for the agency's water rights and energy resources. The power division manages five hydroelectric power plants, which produce over 1 billion kilowatt hours of power wholesaled to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and ancillary services through bilateral contracts; two storage reservoirs, which also service as public recreational facilities; and 24 miles of tunnels that connect these systems.

METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was US Municipal Utility Revenue Debt published in October 2017. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

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