Tag: Finance Plans (Page 1 of 2)

Right-sizing Reserve Funds

Jeff Hughes is the Director of the Environmental Finance Center.

“How much should our utility maintain in reserves?”  This is one of the most common questions I get from utility managers during my finance courses. It is also one of the most difficult questions to answer.  Just calculating how much a utility has in reserve and what it can be used for can be challenging given the diversity of labels and descriptions given to reserves.


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EPA Managerial Capacity Guidebook: A Review

Caroline Simpson is a graduate student with the UNC School of Information and Library Science and works as a Research Assistant with the Environmental Finance Center.

Utility managers may find new perspectives on water system managerial capacity in an unfamiliar place. Last March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with a national Managerial Capacity Workgroup, which included the EFC’s Shadi Eskaf, published the Assessing Water System Managerial Capacity Guidebook (pdf).  Aimed at aiding the state primary agencies’ Capacity Development Programs in crafting approaches and choosing indicators to monitor and measure water systems’ managerial capacity, this guide offers many concepts and ideas from a broader state-level outlook that utility managers may find insightful and relatable. “Managerial capacity” is defined in the document as the water system’s institutional and administrative capabilities that enable a water system to conduct its affairs in a manner enabling the system to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requirements.

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State Green Banks: Funding a Greener Tomorrow, Today

Chris Kenrick is a Research Assistant at the Environmental Finance Center and is pursuing dual master’s degrees in information science and public administration.

If any of you are like me, then you probably spent a good portion of last Monday waiting to hear what President Obama would make the centerpiece of his second inaugural address. After a few incredible performances, and a couple glimpses of funny looking hats, we heard, among other priorities:

 “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.”

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Driving Rates: Get a 2012 Georgia Rates Dashboard Tune-Up

Matt Harris is the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for the Environmental Finance Center.

The etymology of the word “dashboard” is an interesting story of technological change and innovation over time.  Originally the name given to the plank(s) of wood or leather in front of a horse-drawn carriage to keep out mud “dashed” from the movement of the carriage, over the course of history the word “dashboard” and the actual technology associated with this part of the vehicle, has advanced significantly.  With the automobile humans added complex navigational and control instrumentation to the mud-blocking area to continue protecting the driver from the myriad of problems created by moving at unnatural speeds.  It is no surprise that the business and financial communities have adopted the metaphorical language of the dashboard technology.

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Rate Structures Don’t Kill Budgets, Inaccurate Projections Do

Jeff Hughes is the Director of the Environmental Finance Center.


I’ve come to the opinion that rate structures, particularly those that are designed to promote conservation and water efficiency, may be getting a bad rap or at least getting more than their fair share of the blame for utility budget woes. The stories and complaints tend to go like this – “We changed our rate structure a few years ago and ever since have seen budget shortfalls that have required unplanned for rate increases. Our board is unhappy, our customers are unhappy, the papers are making fun of us and we still don’t have the revenues we need. Damn rates!!”

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