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Encyclopedia of Municipal Bonds: A Reference Guide to Market Events, Structures, Dynamics, and Investment Knowledge by Joe Mysak

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W

Washington Public Power Supply System

Formed by a group of public utilities in the state of Washington in 1957, the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS) was responsible for the largest default in municipal market history: $2.25 billion in revenue bonds sold to build two nuclear power plants. The default occurred in August 1983, after trustee Chemical Bank demanded immediate, accelerated repayment of all so-called projects 4 and 5 bonds. This occurred after the Washington State Supreme Court ruled on June 15 that the state’s public and municipal utilities had no legal authority to repay their 70 percent share of the debt. In July, WPPSS admitted it could no longer pay debt service, triggering Chemical’s request. WPPSS missed its first ...

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