The Environmental Finance Center and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
In 2018 the EFC at UNC will produce an interactive Rates Dashboard, tables of water rates, and summaries of utility rate sheets from data provided by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.
These tools are designed to assist utilities to analyze and benchmark their current rates and financial condition, informing their decisions while evaluating their rates for the future.
Wisconsin utilities use many different water rate structures. These different rates and rate structures have financial impacts on revenue stability, household expenditures, and water use behavior. Various rate strategies influence resource use differently and, conversely, efforts to curtail resource use (for example, conservation) have unique revenue impacts depending on a utility's rates, rate structure, and customer base. Information on how utilities in Wisconsin charge for water services is important for utilities in benchmarking their current rates and financial performance.
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin have collected rate sheets from the vast majority of the local government and non-governmental utilities across the State of Wisconsin. These rate sheets specify how utilities charge water customers for their water use. A total of 577 utilities participated in this survey, serving 96.5 percent of all customers served by public water systems. A novel customer expenditure model developed by EFC is used to calculate residential water bills for all participating utilities for any consumption amount between zero and 15 thousand gallons per month. The development of the model represents a breakthrough in the methodology for carrying out large sample size utility rates surveys. Customer bills are calculated across a spectrum of customer consumption rather than at one or two discrete consumption levels (e.g. the bill for 5,000 gallons/month). The results give insight to the rate setting objectives in place at a particular utility. For example, a utility might have particularly high bills at large consumption levels to encourage resource conservation or particularly low bills at small consumption levels to make the minimum level of services more affordable. Information on rates and rate structures across the state are reflected in the online, interactive rates dashboard currently under development. The rates dashboard will allow for comparisons and benchmarking of current rates and will assist officials and staff as they make decisions related to water services during budget preparations. This powerful tool will be posted soon. Please see below for details.
You can find rates surveys for other states here: Utility Financial Sustainability and Rates Dashboards