Affordability concerns affect utilities and the local communities they serve. This publication provides an overview of the topic and offers specific considerations that elected officials, utility managers, and utility staff should consider when addressing affordability issues.

This publication provides an overview of the problem of affordability of wastewater utility bills and offers specific considerations that elected officials, utility managers, and utility staff might take into account when addressing affordability issues in their communities. This includes defining and measuring affordability, highlighting what features might be included in an assistance program for those unable to pay for basic service levels, identifying the primary targets for an assistance program and determining eligibility, listing possible performance measures for providing this assistance, and offering some case studies from communities that have been leaders in attempting to tackle these difficult issues. 

Affordability concerns affect customers, utilities, and the entire local community. Because of the relatively rapid increases in wastewater infrastructure costs and rates to address aging infrastructure—both now and likely into the future—this topic is more timely and important than ever before. 

Key Features of Affordability of Wastewater Service, 2nd Edition include:

  • Updated coverage on the evolution of low-income affordability issues relevant to the water sector 
  • The latest compilation of water sector customer affordability measures
  • Summary update of the EPA financial capability assessment guidelines for enforcement action schedule development 
  • Compilation of various customer assistance programs and funding mechanisms utilized by utilities in the water sector 
  • Case studies demonstrating practical applications of various affordability programs 


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Table of Contents:

Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 Understanding and Measuring Customer Affordability

Chapter 3 Approaches to Addressing Affordability

Chapter 4 Funding Options

Chapter 5 Affordability Program Effects on the Utility

Chapter 6 Customer Assistance Program Administration

Chapter 7 Performance Measures

Chapter 8 Case Studies

Chapter 9 Future Considerations



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