This webinar introduced the Environmental Finance Center’s new Northeastern Illinois Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard, provided information about metrics for sustainable rates and finances, and offered free direct technical assistance to small drinking water systems (serving 10,000 or fewer people) in northeastern Illinois. The Rates Dashboard is a free, online, interactive benchmarking tool designed to help northeastern Illinois utility managers, finance directors, council / board members, and others to:
- evaluate their residential water and wastewater rates (at any increment of 1,000 gallons per month of usage between zero and 15,000 gallons per month),
- benchmark rates with other utilities,
- determine if utility rates are encouraging conservation and covering costs of operations and capital, and
- examine monthly bills as a percentage of median household income (MHI) for the community.
Rates can be compared against multiple characteristics, including utility finances, system size, customer base demographics, and geography. The Dashboard can also serve as a communications tool for explaining utility rates and finance concepts to a variety of audiences.
Rates data for this dashboard are drawn from the October 1, 2013 water and wastewater rates survey IISG-15-007 conducted by the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Program for municipal utilities in the seven-county Chicago Metropolitan area (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will), including 224 municipal community water systems. The Dashboard was constructed as part of the Smart Management for Small Water Systems nationwide project of the Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN). The EFCN is composed of numerous Environmental Finance Centers around the country, including the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, which created this dashboard. This dashboard was created under a cooperative agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency.