As we look forward to spring planting and summer watering, water utilities have the opportunity to proactively educate and remind customers to be mindful of their water use to control water bills. It is also a great time to remind customers, some of whom are new and are hearing it for the first time, about your investments in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), customer portals, or other valuable resources that you have provided them, so they are more informed and can better conserve. In our experience, residents and utility leadership value proactive outreach efforts. This is especially important if you had a rate change since last summer. Slight increases without rate design changes may see only marginal differences in peak month bills. On the other hand, if your utility changed rate design, by introducing or increasing volumetric price signals in a tiered rate design, you have an excellent opportunity in the next two months. If you feel your current messaging efforts are seldom read and ineffective, you may also consider other avenues. In addition to the required bill insert, we have seen positive results with social media, paid ad space in local papers, and even signs around the community.
Public utility issues can often lead to confusion and frustration among residents, which has the potential to cause friction amongst municipal governments, or utility boards, and their constituents. Implementing an education campaign communication strategy opens communication channels, informs stakeholders, and increases overall community engagement and public awareness.
Through NewGen’s ongoing work across the nation, we have witnessed stormwater quickly gain momentum as a critical priority within the municipal utilities sector. Any well-managed utility must include properly funded drainage needs. We created this resource to help equip Texas communities as they navigate into this emerging utility or consider updating existing rates. Please reach out if you would like to talk about how we can assist you in your stormwater utility endeavors!
Water Practice Managing Partner