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What Can You Tell About My Household Based on Our Water Use History?

March 24, 2015

Are you up for a challenge? I have disclosed in the graph below my own household’s water use between June 2006 and December 2014, as reported on my water bills. Without any more information about my household’s characteristics (except that it is residential, on a single 5/8″ meter, and using drinking water and wastewater service from one utility), this is the extent of knowledge that my utility has about my household. Yet, my water use data – which are present in the utility’s billing records – reveal much about my household. My challenge to you is to look at this graph and identify as many interesting characteristics about my household as you can. Think about it, too, from the perspective of how the utility should interact with my household. I will reveal answers later this week (stay tuned!).

Base Charges Customized Based on Customer Water Use

July 31, 2014

  As mentioned in last week’s blog post, some utilities are creatively setting varying base charges for subgroups of customer classes in order to more equitably distribute the (fixed) costs of the utility among customers with varying demands. One way … Continued

Less Common Base Charge Structures

July 23, 2014

  Base charges are critical for water utilities’ finances given that the majority of utility expenses are fixed in the short term and require a stable revenue source to pay for them despite decreasing demands. The most common practice is … Continued

$napshot: The Big Flush

June 13, 2014

In honor of the World Cup that began last night, we are re-posting a wonderful image that made quite a splash online a few years ago. EPCOR Utilities, Inc., the water utility that serves the City of Edmonton in Canada, … Continued

$napshot: Debt Service as Percent of Total Operating Revenues

February 17, 2014

Last Thursday, while we were presenting one of two Water Research Foundation webinars (view recordings of the webcasts for free) on the financial strategies that water utilities have or can employ to improve revenue resiliency against changing financial trends, a … Continued

$napshot: Utility Rate Increases versus Revenue Increases

December 5, 2013

A $napshot is a graphic revealing an interesting environmental finance finding accompanied by a short post. This $napshot was created by Shadi Eskaf. While revenues usually rise as water and wastewater rates increase, revenues generally rise slower than rates. The … Continued