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2021 NC Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard now available!
***Note: Check back periodically, the 2021 Dashboard is being updated with 2020 financial data***
The Environmental Finance Center and the NC League of Municipalities conduct annual water and wastewater rates survey of nearly all rate-charging water and wastewater utilities in North Carolina.
ReportNorth Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Report 2020Tue, 04/21/2020
Powerpoint2019 NC System Development FeesTue, 02/12/2019
PowerpointLegal and Practical Issues Regarding System Development Fees in North Carolina Under the New Law (February 2018)Wed, 02/07/2018
DashboardNorth Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates DashboardMon, 03/02/2020
CalculatorWater and Wastewater Rates Analysis ModelThu, 05/31/2018
DashboardNorth Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates DashboardMonday, March 2, 2020
TablesTables of Water and Wastewater Bills and Rate Structures in North Carolina as of January 2019Friday, May 11, 2018
ReportNorth Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Report 2018Monday, May 21, 2018
Tables Of Water And Wastewater Rates And Rate Structures In North Carolina As Of January 2018Monday, December 2, 2019
ReportNorth Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Report - 2005Wednesday, June 1, 2005
ReportNorth Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Report - 2006Friday, March 17, 2006
ReportNorth Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Report - 2007Tuesday, April 17, 2007
ReportNorth Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Report - 2008Monday, March 17, 2008
ReportNorth Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Report - 2009Thursday, March 12, 2009
ReportNorth Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Report - 2010Monday, August 9, 2010
ReportNorth Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Report - 2011Monday, April 11, 2011
ReportNorth Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates Report - 2012Sunday, April 1, 2012
- Description of the Annual NC Water and Wastewater Rates Survey
- Reports, Tables and Dashboards of NC Water and Wastewater Rates and Rate Structures (last updated May 2018)
- View Your Utility's Water and Wastewater Rate Sheet(s)
- Connection (Tap) Fees and System Development Fees in North Carolina (last updated February 2018)
- Financial Management of Water Systems in North Carolina (Water System Capacity Development webpage, includes multiple resources)
- Capital Planning Resources
- Utility Rate Setting for Cost Recovery and Conservation in NC
- Blog Post Summarizing Utility Wastewater Rates and Surcharges for BOD and TSS (February 2016)
Every year, the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) at the UNC School of Government and the North Carolina League of Municipalities (NCLM) collect rate sheets from hundreds of local government and non-governmental utilities across the State of North Carolina. These rate sheets specify how utilities charge water/wastewater customers for their water use or wastewater disposal. The sampled utilities serve over 95 percent of all customers who are directly billed for their water or wastewater use by utilities in the state. The EFC uses the rate sheets to determine what residential and commercial customers of these utilities are billed for their water, irrigation and wastewater service at various consumption levels. Information on rates and rate structures across the state are compiled into annual reports and tables and the NC Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard and shared with utility managers, councils, and boards. This information allows for comparisons and benchmarking of current rates (and other financial data) and can assist officials and staff as they make decisions related to water and wastewater services during budget preparations.
Year (Rates Effective January of...)
|Number of Utilities that Participated in the Rates Survey|
Every year, the EFC and the NCLM publish a series of products resulting from the annual rates survey. All tools and publications are available for free to the public.
NC Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard: An online, interactive visual display of each utility's rates and financial performance indicators. The dashboard is designed to assist utility managers and local officials with analyzing residential water and wastewater rates against multiple characteristics, including utility finances, system characteristics, customer base socioeconomic conditions, and geography.
Annual Summary Report of Rates and Rate Structures: A short report summarizing the rates, rate structures, and trends currently in use across the State of North Carolina. The report answers frequently asked questions about what utilities are charging, their rate structure designs, how rates have increased, affordability and financial sustainability of NC utilities.
Tables of Rates and Rate Structures: Data tables that list all utilities' residential and non-residential water, wastewater and residential irrigation rate structure details as well as the monthly-equivalent bills computed at different consumption levels.
When a new house connects to a water or wastewater system for the first time, utilities often charge to make that new connection. How utilities charge for this connection, and how much, varies from utility to utility. Since 2016, there have been significant legal and legislative changes to the authority of local governments to charge system development fees (formerly known as impact fees). In August 2016, the North Carolina Supreme Court invalidated the system development fees assessed on new development by a North Carolina town. In 2017, legislators created a new law that affects all local governments' authority to charge system development fees on new developments (Article 8). The blog posts and recorded videos below present the latest information on system development fees in North Carolina.
Blog posts and recorded webinars related to drinking water & wastewater connection fees, system development charges, availability fees, special assessments, and mandatory connections in North Carolina:
- Assessing and Collecting System Development Fees (SDFs): It’s All About the Timing (Kara Millonzi, April 2021)
- 2018 System Development Fee Law Changes (Kara Millonzi, June 2018)
- Presentations by the School of Government in February 2018 with updates on legal and practice issues of the system development fees (Kara Millonzi and Jeff Hughes, February 2018)
- VIDEO (August 2017): Updates to the water utility authority to charge system development fees (Kara Millonzi and Jeff Hughes, August 2017)
- System Development Fees are the New Impact Fees (Kara Millonzi, August 15, 2017)
- Upfront Charges for Local Government Water and Sewer Capital (Kara Millonzi, November 8, 2016)
- VIDEO (October 2016): Updates to the water utility authority to charge impact fees and other upfront charges (Kara Millonzi and Jeff Hughes, October 11, 2016)
- Important Water Impact Fee Development in North Carolina: To be or not to be, that is the question… (Jeff Hughes, September 15, 2016)
- Municipalities Not Authorized to Charge Certain Water and Sewer Impact (aka Capacity, System Development) Fees (Kara Millonzi, September 14, 2016)
- Water and Sewer District’s Impact Fee Powers (for county districts, authorities, special districts, etc.) (Kara Millonzi, February 22, 2016)
- Managing Water Impacts of NC Food Processing: Wastewater Rates and Charges for BOD and TSS (Harmony Bouley, February 23, 2016)
- Legislature Limits Government Water Utilities’ Authority to Mandate Connections (Kara Millonzi, October 5, 2015)
- How much does it cost to connect to a water and wastewater system? (Jeff Hughes, May 26, 2015)
- Do North Carolina Local Governments Have Authority to Assess Impact Fees for Water and Sewer Public Enterprises? (Kara Millonzi, August 7, 2014)
- Financing Capital Projects—Part II: Special Levies (Kara Millonzi, January 29, 2013)
- Water and Sewer Availability Fees (Kara Millonzi, February 10, 2012)
- Water and Sewer Extensions “At No Cost” – Analyzing the New Annexation Law (Frayda Bluestein, August 2, 2011)
- Using Utility Rates as an Economic Development Incentive Tool (Kara Millonzi, August 31, 2010)
- Thinking about Water and Sewer Impact Fees and Affordable Housing (Jeff Hughes, January 26, 2010)
Periodically, the Environmental Finance Center and the North Carolina League of Municipalities collect information about the one-time fees utilities charge their residential customers for new water/wastewater connections, which are often comprised of tap (connection) fees and/or system development fees. Tap fees are designed to recover all or a portion of the cost (materials and labor) of connecting a customer to the nearest water or sewer line. System development fees are associated with the proportional costs of developing and maintaining system capacity to accommodate the demand placed on the system by the new customer.
The results are presented in the form of tables that list each utility's fees, and a short memo that summarizes the range of fees across hundreds of utilities statewide. Only residential fees are included in these documents; non-residential fees and other financing mechanisms such as property assessments were not included in the study. Note that system development fees in particular will likely now be very different from what has been reported in 2015 or earlier years.