Utility rates and the political environment

Source: Bryan A. Mantz and Robert J. Ori, Journal AWWA, Vol. 103 No. 8, August 2011
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From the abstract:
For publicly owned water and wastewater systems, there is never a right time to request an increase in utility rates. This situation is especially true in today’s environment because of the lingering downturn in the economy and amplified political pressure to minimize or limit rate increases. However, the need to raise rates is becoming more critical because of the increasing scarcity of new water resources, more stringent regulations for utility services, and the greater need for capital reinvestment for renewals and replacements. Utility managers should realize that the ability to adjust rates has become more dependent on a multifaceted process as opposed to simply presenting the utility’s rate case at a public meeting. This article presents approaches and strategies that have been successfully used by utility management teams to present the need for rate increases for the long-term benefit of the utility stakeholders.

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