Are You Paying Too Much? Understanding your energy rate schedules

Written by:  Dawn Nall, Project Manager, Southwest Environmental Finance Center For many water systems, the electric (or energy) bill is one of the largest expenses regularly incurred by the water utility.  It is also one of the most controllable expenses a water utility will have.  Most energy providers charge different rates for different types of customers, such as commercial and residential.  …

Regulations: Love ’em or Hate ’em, Common Sense or Overreach

Written by: Heather Himmelberger, Director of the Southwest Environmental Finance Center.  Regulations are in the cross hairs right now. Regulations of all kinds, but especially environmental regulations, are hated by politicians, companies, regulated entities of all types, including public entities, and the general public. It is tempting to assume that all regulations are costly and unnecessary and that we would …

Are Utilities that Need to Raise Rates Actually Raising Rates?

Written by: Shadi Eskaf Shadi Eskaf is a Senior Project Director at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. What happens if a water utility collects less in revenues than it pays in expenditures in one year? It will raise some alarms, but some utilities might be able to weather that shortfall by dipping …

Seven Strategies for Identifying Who Is Willing and Able to Pay for Household Water Services

Guest post by Urooj Amjad Urooj Amjad is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Economics Department of Queens College, City University of New York where she teaches Environmental Economics. She was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at The Water Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and received her Ph.D. from the University of London.  Accurately identifying vulnerable groups and …

Trends in EPA Violations in Water Systems

Written by: Daniel Irvin Daniel Irvin is the Environmental Finance Community Advisor at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Here at the Environmental Finance Center, we work with water systems across the country to help them improve their financial and managerial capacity. While there are many reasons why it is important for water …

Toxic Water: Our Responsibility

Written by Heather Himmelberger Heather Himmelberger is the Director at the Southwest Environmental Finance Center “4 million Americans could be drinking toxic water and would never know” headlined USA Today on December 15th, 2016.  There is no question that lead in drinking water is a major concern and that making drinking water safe for everyone should be a paramount concern.  …

WIFIA! EPA’s New Billion Dollar Water and Wastewater Loan Program Hits the Street

Written by Jeff Hughes Jeff Hughes is the Director of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill What is WIFIA? WIFIA stands for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, the name of the federal act that authorized an interesting new federally managed water and wastewater infrastructure funding mechanism. WIFIA includes both direct loans …

I’ve Got the Rate Case Blues: How to Maintain Financial Health While Mounting Fewer Rate Cases

Written by: Evan Kirk Evan Kirk graduated from The University of North Carolina at UNC Chapel Hill in May 2016 with a degree in Environmental Science, concentrating in energy and sustainability. For water and sewer utilities regulated by a state’s public utilities commission (PUC), mounting a rate case can be an expensive proposition. In fact, for some particularly small utilities, …

Fun Facts about Water System Rate Structures

Written by: Daniel Irvin Daniel Irvin is the Environmental Finance Community Advisor at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The Environmental Finance Center currently produces statewide water and wastewater rates dashboards for 12 states across the US. We collect a lot of data on water system finance and management to build these dashboards, and those …

Four Factors that Allow One Utility to Provide Financial Assistance to People Who Don’t Even Have a Water Account

Written by: Stacey Isaac Berahzer Stacey Isaac Berahzer is a Senior Project Director with the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When setting rates, most water and wastewater utilities are concerned (at least to some extent) about whether their customers can afford the resulting bills. Many utilities are also wondering how they can assist …