Our attorneys are experienced in structuring financings for all types of public utility projects, including electric, gas, water, sewer, and storm drainage, among others. The majority of these transactions are structured to be repaid solely through the use of utility revenues, but, in certain instances, we have worked with the issuer to issue general obligation bonds for the improvements or created a transaction that pledges both the utility revenues and the issuer’s general fund to secure bondholders. Public utility bond issues often involve significant tax questions, such as whether private use is involved or the proper sizing of debt service reserve funds and/or repair and improvement funds, so we make sure to involve our tax attorneys early in the transaction.
Among the clients we serve in this area is American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP). We worked with AMP to obtain a private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to enable AMP to issue tax-exempt debt on behalf of its members. Additionally, we served as bond counsel for AMP on a number of financings for electric generation projects, including a combined cycle plant located in Freemont, Ohio and four run-of-the-river hydroelectric facilities located on existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers locks and dams on the Ohio River.
We also work with numerous political subdivisions throughout our footprint to finance their public utility infrastructure needs, including assisting the County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio (CCAO) with the establishment of a prepayment program for natural gas supplies.