Tag: Communication (Page 2 of 2)

In it for the long-haul: Water rate approvals from real communication with boards

The road goes on forever, and the party never ends.

The road goes on forever, and the party never ends. ~Robert Earl Keen

The Environmental Finance Center has partnered with Arcadis, Raftelis Financial Consultants, ICMA, and Stratus Consulting to get to the bottom of what meaningful communication between water utilities and their governing boards regarding rates and finances looks like. What do the boards want to know? How do they want to know it? It’s easy in a research project to want to focus on measurable results. If you do ‘x’, then you’ll achieve ‘y’. But it’s not that easy with communication.

We spent a week interviewing water utility staff and their governing board members in the Southeast last month, and their insight on the topic should be no surprise to anyone that has been involved in any relationship. Below are some of the insights shared by board members on effective strategies about how staff can foster their support for rate increases.



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Eight Communication Strategies to Help Water Utilities Get the Rates They Need

Water utilities face trying times when communicating the need to increase rates to cover the increasing costs of operating water and wastewater utilities. The issues are complex. The public is constantly bombarded with news from their phones, TVs, computers, etc., and Board turnover can wipe-out years of institutional knowledge. Additionally, customers have a general distrust for water utilities. Perhaps it’s from a history of underpricing and a reluctance of water utilities to actively market themselves (i.e. the “silent service”). Or maybe customers see water rates as just another tax.

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