Fitch affirms PPGA bond rating

April 30, 2018

Fitch Ratings recently affirmed an A- rating on the Public Power Generation Agency’s (PPGA) revenue bonds for the Whelan Energy Center Unit 2 project near Hastings, Neb. The rating outlook is stable. PPGA consists of five municipal wholesale and retail electric providers, including the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska.

The agency was formed in 2005 to finance, construct, own and operate Whelan Energy Center Unit 2, a 220-megawatt coal-fired power plant. The other PPGA participants include Heartland Consumers Power District, Hastings Utilities, Grand Island Utilities and Nebraska City Utilities.

The project went into commercial operation in 2011.

MEAN and Heartland each own a 36 percent share in the project, which is 80 megawatts each of associated capacity. The remaining 60 megawatts is divided between the other three participants.

Fitch cited the stable credit quality of the project participants and the take-or-pay participant agreements among the key drivers for the project rating. Fitch also cited the project’s modest capital needs and emission-control technology that should keep rates manageable to project participants over the longer term.