• Conservation’s impact on water and wastewater revenues

    If your utility is like the vast majority of water and wastewater utilities nationwide, your customers are buying less water from you than they have in the past. The magnitude and duration of the reduction varies, but the fact is that customers are continually developing ways to conserve one of life’s most precious commodities and it’s a safe bet that the trend will continue.
  • Are 100 percent of your utility customer bills correct?

    During my presentations on billing, accounting, customer service, and other topics, I will frequently poll the group to see how many of them believe they are billing 100 percent of their customers correctly, 100 percent of the time. If you are in the very limited minority who could proudly and truthfully raise your hand, well done. On the other hand, let’s just say that the very limited number of raised hands tells me that we have a real opportunity to do better.
  • What’s going on with electric utility monthly fixed charges?

    How would you like to pay a fixed charge of $69 per month for your electric service, even if you used no electricity that month? Further, imagine this is $59 more than the $10 you are used to paying. Fixed monthly meter charges are increasing nationwide, much more dramatically than any other component of the typical rate structure. What is causing the change?
  • Using performance audits to improve utility operations

    Utility performance and regulatory compliance are increasingly visible in the utility industry. “Doing more with less” is a common refrain. Regular performance audits can be conducted to improve utility operations and increase efficiency.
  • Extreme utility rate increases and communicating them effectively

    The local media outlets are sharing news that your water rates will increase by 35 percent. Make that 54 percent. How about 165 percent?! A recent summary of the fifty-two water rate increases granted in 2014 by one state regulatory body (in a state where water increases require state approval) showed the 2014 average increase was 30 percent with the largest being 165 percent! As utility professionals, we must be cognizant of what will happen when we implement our next increase.