Category: Financial Benchmarking (Page 2 of 5)

Reclaim Review: A Snapshot of the 2019 Survey and Legislation in Arizona

Written by Ashley Bleggi

As far back as 1926, Arizona has been a leader in the ever evolving world of water reuse. With the release of the 2019 Arizona Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard, we want to take a look at the recent insights our surveys have uncovered, as well as the current state of reclaimed water legislation in Arizona. 

Overall, about 15% of all the utilities we surveyed for 2019 provide reclaimed water. As discussed in the EFC’s 2017 Arizona Water & Wastewater Rates Report , reclaimed water is significantly cheaper to produce and sell in part due to low energy requirements. Investing in reclaimed water processes allows utilities to avoid the costs of transporting wastewater long distances to surface discharge points, or investing in costly groundwater recharge infrastructure. This trend of reclaimed rates low comparative cost continues into 2019 with the data below showing reclaimed water bills to be nearly four times cheaper than both water and irrigation charges at the same 7.5 kgal consumption level. Continue reading

What the 2019 North Carolina Rates Survey Data Can do for You

Recently, the North Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard was updated with 2019 data and the North Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Report 2019 was published. Are you getting all you can out of these useful resources?

As the start of the new fiscal year approaches in July, utilities across North Carolina will be preparing to enact new water and wastewater rates in their communities. Rate increases can be perceived as negative to the general public, though they are necessary for financial sustainability, and ultimately to protect the public health of the communities they serve. How can utilities convey the important decisions that go into what many just see as an increase in their bill?

That’s where the resources from our 2019 North Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Survey can help, providing easy to understand visuals, key takeaways from aggregated, statewide data, and the numbers behind it all. Continue reading

Are Utilities that Need to Raise Rates Actually Raising Rates?

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 into their reserves and bounce back the following year. But what happens if a water utility collects less in revenues than it pays in expenditures in three consecutive years? That is probably a strong indication that the rates it is charging its customers are too low. Assuming that expenses cannot be significantly reduced, a rate increase is almost certainly necessary. So are utilities in this position raising rates the following year, or are there obstacles that may be chronically preventing the adoption of rate increases? In this post, I analyze ten years of financial and rates data from hundreds of North Carolina utilities to explore this question.

Continue reading

New Year, New Chart? 4 Tips for More Effective Data Visualization

Here at the Environmental Finance Center we work with a lot of data, but all the data in the world is useless if you can’t convey the story of the data to people who need to understand it. In line with our mission to support informed financial decision-making, we produce Utility Financial Sustainability and Rates Dashboards and Excel-based tools to help local governments and stakeholders visually decode complex data. Since I joined the EFC last year as a Data Specialist & Project Manager, I’m happy to say that it is my job to make sure that the visualizations we produce get the message across as efficiently and accurately as possible. Based on my experience I’ve put together some tips on how to give your charts a makeover to give your viewers the biggest impact.

However, you don’t have to be a data nerd to benefit from these makeover guidelines (although, welcome to the club if you are!). Anyone can use the following tips for more effective visualizations, whether you’re presenting at a board meeting or reviewing your own personal budget.

Continue reading

Key Financial Indicators for Water Systems: Revenue Stability

“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. While there is no simple answer, we have addressed the issue in a series blog posts on key financial indicators for water systems, including a discussion of conservation signal as a key financial benchmark to consider in rate setting. While the initial answer continues to be “It depends,” another element to consider (among the numerous factors to consider and rank in importance) is revenue stability.

Continue reading

« Older posts Newer posts »