Blog

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COVID-19 and North Carolina Utilities: Impact Assessment of the Coronavirus Pandemic on North Carolina Water and Wastewater Utilities

Post by: Elsemarie Mullins, Project Director, Environmental Finance Center at UNC August has been a key transition month for local government utilities in North Carolina as EO 124/142 (which prohibited disconnections due to non-payment for residential utility accounts) has expired, payment plans are required to be in place, and Governor ...
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Financial Resilience: Tools to test a utility’s ability to “weather the storm”

These are unprecedented times. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, social norms have changed and unemployment has risen sharply across the nation. As states have pushed residents to stay home, water usage patterns have altered for both commercial and residential customers. In many cases, commercial customers have decreased use while residential ...
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Visualizing the Value (of a State Revolving Loan Fund)

Written by: Austin Thompson, Project Director, UNC EFC Imagine a town called “Smallville.” Smallville, as you might guess, is small. The town’s water utility needs a new water tank, and they need it now. Like most systems across the US, Smallville’s system is aging and has significant infrastructure needs. Smallville ...
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Looking at the Big Picture: An Interview with Priscilla Lucero, Executive Director of the Southwest New Mexico COG

Written by: Brett Schwartz, National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Regional development organizations (RDOs) serve communities of all sizes across the country in a variety of ways to enhance planning, economic development, infrastructure, social services, and much more.  These public-based entities play an invaluable role in fostering intergovernmental collaboration among ...
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Does How Often You Pay for it Matter? The Impacts of Billing Frequency

Written by Stephen Lapp, Project Manager, UNC EFC At the Environmental Finance Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, we are always communicating that how you pay for it matters, but could how often you pay for it matter as well? It may seem counter-intuitive to think that receiving bills more regularly would ...
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COVID-19 Conditions’ Financial Effects on 49 Small Water Systems in North Carolina

Written by Shadi Eskaf, Research Director, EFC at UNC Three months after the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly changed how Americans live and work, the financial implications for water systems are becoming apparent. Back in March, we forecasted some of these effects, but we couldn’t measure those changes at that time. As ...
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How Utilities in the Past have Saved Money during Economic Hardship: Similarities and Differences for COVID-19

Written by Erin Ansbro, Data Researcher, and Elsemarie Mullins, Project Director, at EFC at UNC Right now, water utilities are facing great uncertainty about the coming months and years. When will moratoria on water shut-offs end? When will water consumption be back to “normal”? Will utility staff get COVID-19? And ...
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Municipal Finance in a Pandemic: How is the Market Responding?

Written by Austin Thompson, Project Director, EFC at UNC Municipal Bonds & COVID-19: What is going on? Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US, the municipal (“muni”) bond market was strong. Investors looking for a non-taxable rate of return were hungry for municipal bonds, driving interest rates down ...
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Regionalization: Five Key Takeaways with Resources!

Written by Erin Riggs, Executive Director, EFC at University of North Carolina In the past few years, the EFC has been asked to evaluate the different financial impacts of regionalization, from simple shared services agreements to full-on consolidation. Additionally, we have been evaluating barriers to and opportunities for the creation ...
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Water System Reserves During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Written by: Christian Lutz, Data Analyst, Environmental Finance Center at UNC Local governments have an increased public health responsibility to ensure that people have access to clean water during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, many utilities are refraining from shutting off customers’ water, despite unpaid bills. In more than ...
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