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***Please CLICK HERE to open the 2017 dashboard in a new tab***
Introducing the new Massachusetts Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard!
The Environmental Finance Center is pleased to announce the launch of the new Massachusetts Water & Wastewater Rates Dashboard. This interactive Rates Dashboard is designed to assist utility managers, finance directors, Board members, state and local officials, reporters, and customers in comparing their residential water and wastewater rates against multiple characteristics, including utility finances, system characteristics, customer base demographics, and geography.
Rates data for this dashboard are drawn from the 2017 residential drinking water and wastewater rates survey conducted by Tighe & Bond. The Environmental Finance Center and Tighe & Bond have been working together for 5 years on New England rates surveys and dashboards. Tighe & Bond is an engineering and environmental services consulting firm that has specialized in rate surveys for over 20 years. For more information on Tighe & Bond's work and resources in New England, please check out their website here.
This Rates 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. Additional resources for water and wastewater utilities are provided below.
New look and new functions!
For everyone who is familiar with previous Rates Dashboards, you will notice that we have given the Massachusetts Dashboard a new look and added many new features and functions:
- An easier way to select your utility from the dropdown menu: now you can type in your utility's name.
- Ability to click on and select any utility on the map.
- Tablet friendly format allows you to view the dashboard on your tablet device (e.g. iPad).
- Ability to edit your utility's data. These edits and additions will be saved on your computer until you delete your cookies.
- Ability to add a new utility/rate structure to the dashboard. These edits and additions will be saved on your computer until you delete your cookies.
- Ability to observe the effects of raising rates by up to 100%.
- Much faster load and response times as you interact with the dashboard.
- Numerous other function and aesthetic changes to improve the use and feel of the dashboard.
The Massachusetts Dashboard offers the following features:
Residential water and wastewater rates as of December 2014, for utilities across Massachusetts, can be compared with:
- All other utilities in the State,
- Utilities of the same size,
- Utilities in the same watershed,
- Utilities with the same water source,
- Utilities located in the same congressional district,
- Utilities of the same ownership type,
- Utilities that serve communities with similar household income levels,
- Utilities located in the same water planning region, and
- Utilities within 25 or 50 miles.
You can compare residential water and/or wastewater bills at 500 gallons/month, ranging from 0 to 15,000 gallons per month.
You can also raise rates by up to 100% and observe the (hypothetical) effects on the utility's rates, revenues and rate affordability.
Key Financial Indicators
The following measures for the selected utility are compared to key indicators or to the utilities within the selected comparison group:
- Monthly water/wastewater bills,
- Conservation pricing signal (the incremental price when increasing from 10,000 to 11,000 gallons per month),
- Operating ratio (operating revenues divided by operating expenses including depreciation), and
- Monthly bill as % Median Household Income for the service community.
View a recording of a webinar demonstrating how to use the Massachusetts Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard (March 2016)
Rates data: Rates data for this dashboard are drawn from the December 2014 residential drinking water and wastewater rates survey conducted by the engineering firm Tighe & Bond. Utility's rates are standardized to monthly billing and thousands of gallons for the purposes of fair comparison on the Dashboard.
Demographic data: The American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates (2012-2016) from the US Census Bureau.
System characteristics, such as number of connections and water source type: Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Information System
Geographic: United States Geological Survey
We strive to include as many utilities in our surveys as possible, maintaining a minimum response rate of at least 80% of rate-charging utilities in each state. If your utility is not included on your state’s dashboard, it may be that a rate sheet was not received during the survey collection period, or clarifying questions went unanswered.
However, by utilizing the “Edit Data or Add Utility” button in the upper right corner of the Dashboard, you can temporarily compare your water rates against the existing utilities on the Dashboard. Please note that data are only available locally and will not be saved within the Dashboard.
Please contact Annalee Harkins. We will do our best to update your rates as soon as possible!
Data can be edited temporarily by utilizing the “Edit Data or Add Utility” button located in the upper right corner of the Dashboard. Please note that data are only available locally and will not be saved within the Dashboard.
Dials such as “Cost Recovery” and “Affordability” rely on supplemental data in making calculations. When supplemental data is not available for a utility, the message is displayed and the dial is blanked out.
Each dial has a “?” button which shows how the dial is calculated, the data used in the calculation, and a brief explanation of the dial’s purpose.
Please send a data request to Annalee Harkins.
Rates Dashboards are primarily funded through contracts with state and Federal governments. If you are interested in a Rates Dashboard for your state, please contact Annalee Harkins.
Dashboards with annual contracts such as NC and GA are updated approximately the same time each year. Other states are updated on a per-contract basis.
Utilities may send corrections if their rates are incorrectly displayed on the dashboard. These corrections are implemented on a quarterly basis.