The Effects Of Water Utility Pricing On Low Income Consumers

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Donald A. Forrer
Jacob Boudreau
Elizabeth Boudreau
Sheronia Garcia
Christopher Nugent
Dean Allen
Alexis C. Lubin

Keywords

Utilities, Affordability, Rate Model, Municipality, Low Income, Water

Abstract

This study reviews ten water utilities in Florida utilizing current pricing models to determine how municipal utilities approach affordability.  Water is no longer a commodity that can be taken for granted as the effects on the family budget has risen considerably in the past couple of decades. Increasing costs in capital, debt, personnel, chemicals, retrieval, and production have dramatically increased the price of water.  Municipalities are faced with diminishing resources, escalating costs, and the need to consider those less fortunate when determining utility pricing.  This research reviews programs available to utilities to offset the effect on capital requirements if municipalities adapt a low income friendly pricing model.  Ten Florida municipalities are examined utilizing data from the 2012 Water and Wastewater Rate Study conducted for the American Water Works Association.   Additionally, affordability programs for all ten municipalities are reviewed. 

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