CL&W earns high marks

July 18, 2009

Neal Wagner -


The Columbus Light and Water Department recently was named one of the top government entities in the state by the Standard and Poor''s rating agency, members of the CL&W board of directors announced during a Thursday meeting. 


S&P, whose Web site describes the New York-based company as a "provider of independent credit ratings, investment research and data," recently awarded CL&W''s electric division an A+ rating. 


The rating signifies a "stable outlook" for the company, and indicates the electric department likely will be able to satisfy any debts it owes, according to the rating company. 


"This is definitely something you ought to be proud of," Steve Pittman, a consultant with the Jackson-based General Accounting Services firm, told the board. "There are many well-run cities in Mississippi that don''t have an A+ rating." 


The rating is at the top end of S&P''s grading system, which rates companies'' creditworthiness on a scale from CCC to AAA. 


"An issuer or obligation rated ''A'' should be able to withstand a substantial level of stress and still meet its financial obligations," according an S&P publication explaining the credit ratings. 


"I just want to commend our staff for that rating," said CL&W Board Chairman Jabari Edwards. "They are the reason we have been successful." 


The local utility company''s rating is higher than the majority of government-run utility companies and agencies, Pittman explained. 


"You guys are at the top end of most any government entity in the state," Pittman said. "I just think it goes to show how great you guys run this board." 


In other business, the board: