Harrisburg, Camden County, and now Montgomery County: Moody's Investors Service has cut its credit rating for  Montgomery County Industrial Develpment Authority's $34 million 2002 bond issue, which is financed by the incinerator at 1155 Conshohocken Road, to Baa3, just above junk-bond status, from A2, low credit risk.
"The economic decline appears to have led to meaningful reduction in waste," complains a team of credit analysts at Moody's Investors Service, led by Esra Akyol, in their report last night.
The incinerator burns 1,215 tons of trash a day from 22 mostly wealthy Montgomery County towns and other, private trash sources, uses the heat to power steam electric generators, and sells the resulting electricity to Exelon Corp.

In 2009 the plant was sold by former owner, France-based Veolia Environnement (yes, the French spell funny)'s Montenany Montgomery Limited Partners affiliate, to Fairfield, New Jersey-based Covanta Corp,, which also operates facilities in Chester, and at Girard Point and 58th St. in Philadelphia. The Conshohocken Road incinerator was renamed Covanta Plymouth Renewable Energy Limited Partnership. 
The "shift in ownership" to Covanta, which is itself junk-bond-rated, is "inconsistent" with a continued A-rating for the Plymouth plant, Moodys's noted.
Also worrisome: Plymouth's increased reliance on "third-party source waste delivery" of industrial or commercial trash, which is "not as stable" a source of revenue as municipal waste. The company charges towns more than private companies pay, which has caused resentment over the years among some towns, apartment landlords and other trash sources who'd rather be able to shop for cheaper disposal. 
In Plymouth's favor, Moody's also noted Covanta has a cash reserve for the plant and that it has a "strong track record of supporting its overpating plants." 
"Waste is fuel for these plants and we always want to have enough to run the generating plants," Covanta spokesman James Regan told me. "There's plenty of waste out there," whether from local towns or other permitted sources, he added. Montgomery County Industrial Development Authority officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment.