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 …

Six Keys to Improve your Water Utility’s Credit Rating- A Cheat Sheet

Written by: Stacey Isaac Berahzer Stacey Isaac Berahzer is a Senior Project Director at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Water and Wastewater utilities receive “credit ratings” just as a private individual has a FICO® score. While organizations like the Fair Isaac Corporation calculate personal credit scores, for entities like local government utilities, …

Three Strategies for Water Utilities with Aging Infrastructure

Written by: Allison Perch Allison Perch is a Program Coordinator at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Last month, as part of our Smart Management for Small Water Systems project, I traveled with Glenn Barnes, Senior Project Director at the Environmental Finance Center at UNC Chapel Hill, to visit a small water system that …

Key Financial Indicators for Water Systems: Revenue Stability

Written by: David Tucker David Tucker is a Project Director at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  “Are our water utility’s rates right?” This is an often difficult question that arises at our  workshops and webinars for small water systems, through our direct technical assistance, and which many of our readers may be interested in. …

Four Finance Facts About Flint

Written by: Jeff Hughes Jeff Hughes is the Director of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As this blog is being written, water and community managers from across the country are talking about the water crisis that is occurring in Flint, Michigan. The City made a decision several years ago to discontinue buying …

Key Financial Benchmarks for Water Systems: Conservation Signal

Written by: Glenn Barnes Glenn Barnes is a Senior Project Director with the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  At our workshops and through our discussions with water systems during technical assistance work, many water systems, in particular small systems, ask what seems like a simple question: “Are our rates right?” I suspect our initial answer …

Who is Supplying Water in Puerto Rico?

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.  About 96% of the population in Puerto Rico receives water from the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA). But the other 4% of the population is supplied by about 240 very small …

Key Financial Indicators for Water and Wastewater Systems: Current Ratio

Written by: Glenn Barnes Glenn Barnes is a Senior Project Director with the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina.  In previous posts, we outlined how to use the financial statements of a water or wastewater system to calculate the key financial indicators of operating ratio (a measure of self-sufficiency), debt service coverage ratio(a measure of a system’s ability to pay …

Four Trends in Government Spending on Water and Wastewater Utilities Since 1956

Written by: Shadi Eskaf Shadi Eskaf is a Senior Project Director with the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina.  According to data collected and published by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), federal, state and local governments in the United States spent more than $2.2 trillion in the last 59 years on operations, maintenance and capital infrastructure of …