Thoughts

A place for education, information, and insights about the water industry.

Topics: rate increases

3 Ways Self-Service Payment Tools Combat Rising Water Rates

April 1, 2020
| By Chad Galloway

When it comes to collecting payments and maintaining stable revenue, water utility companies face many challenges. One of the most pressing of these challenges is the issue of ever-increasing water rates due to aging water infrastructures and rising treatment costs across the country. In fact, a 2017 research study from Michigan State University shows that water rates have increased by 41% since 2010. If rates continue to rise at this rate over the course of the next 5 years, it’s estimated that over 40 million households in the U.S. won’t be able to afford water. 

This issue of affordability is one that looms large for the majority of water utility companies. When water rates rise drastically, utilities see delayed payments and, in some cases, customers are unable to pay bills at all. Since the utility is responsible for the costs associated with maintaining and treating water regardless of the revenue they collect, this leads

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Topics: customer assistance programs

Customer Engagement and CAPs: Strategies for Water Affordability

August 28, 2018
| By Sophia Stetson
Affordability. It's a word that gets tossed around a lot as water bills continue to rise. Over the past 10 years the  median water bill has risen 75%  and is going to continue to climb as  our  national  wet  infrastructure requires  up to  $1 trillion in rehabilitation investment over the next 25 years . But with  nearly   1 5 % of the US  population  liv ing  below the poverty line  and spending  3% of their after-tax income on water ,  many  families are more vulnerable to bill increases and water shutoffs.  W ater utilities  have the  responsibility  of  maintaining public health by providing high quality, readily accessible water  and many  providers  have shown their commitment to their  low-income  customers through the implementation of  C ustomer  A ssistance  P rograms (CAPs) . In addition to CAPs, online customer engagement can reach low-income customers and help to ease their bill burden before they become delinquent.
 
Why CAPs?
By  taking advantage of  CAPs, 
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Topics: Research

Public Messaging for Rate Increases

August 16, 2016
| By Peter Yolles

Water utilities are having a hard time getting public support for increasing investment in their infrastructure — a crucial need that underpins the viability and resilience of our cities and suburban communities. More than 250 million Americans are at risk of losing the reliability and safety of their municipal water utilities as these systems reach the end of their useful life. People yell and scream at their elected leaders about rate increases even as they face the warning signs of broken water mains and episodes of contaminated supplies. How can utilities leverage public messaging to generate more support for their mission? How can utilities neutralize complaints and win over their customers to support the necessary improvements in our water systems?

A new whitepaper from Hahn Public Research sheds light on this subject. Research indicate that utilities should design their public messages to focus more on the benefits and

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