Drinking water utilities are often expected to deliver high-quality service while keeping rates low. This can result in under-investment in water infrastructure or an inability to meet public health and environmental standards. However, rate increases may place a significant burden on lower-income households in a water system’s service area. How can utilities effectively balance service and infrastructure needs with a need to keep rates affordable for its customers?
n this webinar for drinking water utilities in the Mid-Atlantic region, presenters from the Environmental Finance Centers at the University of Maryland and the University of North Carolina discussed methods to assess the affordability of current or future water rates. The training covers metrics to consider – beyond Median Household Income – in order to meaningfully gauge the impact of utility costs under different affordability indicators. It also features a deep-dive into UNC’s updated Affordability Assessment Tool, which helps utilities make informed decisions regarding water rate changes, and highlights case stories from around the Mid-Atlantic region.