Author: Andrea Kopaskie

Tips and Takeaways: Applying for NC Water and Wastewater Funding Programs

Attention all North Carolinian water and wastewater systems: the State Water Infrastructure Authority announced that $168.5 million in water and wastewater funding will be available this upcoming fall.

In response to this announcement, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality: Division of Water Infrastructure held application-training workshops across the state of North Carolina in August. Here are some tips and takeaways learned from the training.

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Three Applied Lessons from the 2017 Appalachian Energy Summit

The Appalachian Energy Summit, held in mid-July in Boone, North Carolina, had the 2017 theme, “Perspectives: Policy & Practice.” This theme highlighted the interdisciplinary approach necessary for the successful deployment of efficient and sustainable energy.

Three topics from the summit—education, community, and leadership—were discussed in detail, all of which relate to energy in unique ways. The summit’s main ideas of the topics were presented in relation to the deployment of energy-based technology, though they can be applied to almost any industry. Continue reading

Envisioning the Future of Water: Three Lessons Learned from One City

In March, the UNC Institute for the Environment hosted the Clean Tech Summit, a multi-day event in which students and professionals  convene and foster leadership and discussion among the Southeast’s clean tech industry. Many summit panels incorporated and focused on the topic of water management in all its forms: drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater.

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Public vs Private: A National Overview of Water Systems

The dynamic between public and private systems has always been interesting, especially in the case of water and wastewater systems. Public water systems are usually non-profit entities managed by local or state governments, for which rates are set by a governing board. On the other hand, private water systems can be for-profit systems managed by investors or shareholders. Though rates are monitored by a state’s public commission, private systems are not necessarily subject to this regulating board. Additionally, the difference between public and private is not always distinct, as we sometimes see in Public-Private Partnerships. In this post, we present some interesting facts and figures based on an analysis of national data on ownership of water utilities.

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Mapping Customers that may Need Additional Assistance in 8 Simple Steps

Bad debt plagues every utility: electric, water, sewer, phone, gas – you name it. A utility can spend thousands of dollars trying to recover the costs of delinquent accounts, and unfortunately, utilities with bad debt meet a costly fate. Bad debts are assumed by the company, and categorized with other necessary expenses; it has become a sacrifice that companies are expected to make. The accumulation of bad debt has become so normal for these companies that estimates are made, dollar amounts are calculated, budgets are finalized, and subsequently, bad debts are forgotten.

Delinquencies and bad debt can be caused by customers who have a harder time paying their bills, whether because of financial constraints or difficulties in communicating with the utility. To improve customer service, utilities can try to identify areas or customers that may need additional assistance or target outreach programs that can help customers communicate with the utility.

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