You’re invited!

I would like to invite you to participate in the 2015 Utility Fee Survey. I’m researching what fees different utilities charge and how much they charge for each fee.

The results of the survey will be published in a series of upcoming e-mail newsletters and then posted here on my blog. To be sure you receive the results of the survey, if you haven’t already signed up for my free e-mail newsletter, please click here to subscribe.

2012 Survey Results

I conducted a similar survey in 2012 and you can review the results here:

Complete the 2015 Utility Fee Survey

If you are willing to participate in the survey, please click here to complete the survey. It should take less than five minutes to complete.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com or call me at 919-232-2320.

I would like as much participation as possible in the survey, so please feel free to pass this on to your colleagues at other utilities.

Thank you in advance for your participation in the Utility Fee Survey.

Water leak adjustments rate poll results

The previous Utility Information Pipeline included a poll asking what rate utilities used to calculate water leak adjustments. Here are the results of that poll (clicking on the chart will open a large image in a new window):

Leak adjustment rate poll results

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© 2015 Gary Sanders

Leak adjustments poll results

As the result of several listserv questions, the previous Utility Information Pipeline included a poll asking which services utilities offer leak adjustments for.

If you missed it, you can still participate in the poll by clicking here.

Poll results

Overwhelmingly, the poll results indicate that most of the utilities who responded offer leak adjustments for both water and sewer.

Here are the results of the poll (clicking on the chart will open a larger image in a new window):

Leak adjustments poll results

Water only

Initially, the eight responses of water only seemed surprising. However, when I looked into who clicked on the poll link in the last newsletter (I can see who clicked the link, but I can’t tell what their response was to the poll, or if they even took the poll), several of those people work for water only utilities. So I have a strong suspicion that most, if not all, of the water only responses don’t mean they offer water, but not sewer, leak adjustments – rather they don’t provide sewer, therefore they offer leak adjustments for water only.

Sewer only

I was rather surprised that only three (less than 10 percent) of the responses only offer sewer adjustments. I honestly expected this number to be much larger.

As discussed in the previous newsletter, water leak adjustments directly impact the utility’s bottom line, whereas sewer adjustments for leaks that do not enter the sewer system do not. For this reason I anticipated more sewer only responses.

No leak adjustments

The three responses here was not a surprise. Some utilities take the hard line approach that all water that passes through the meter is the customer’s responsibility, regardless if there was a leak or not.

Comments

Three people who participated in the poll left comments describing their leak adjustment policies. If you are interested in seeing these comments, please click here.

Follow-up poll

My curiosity was piqued with so many utilities offering water leak adjustments, so I’ve created another poll to see if the credit is calculated at full retail price or some lesser rate, such as wholesale cost.

If you offer water leak adjustments, please take this quick poll.


 

Are you considering adopting or updating your leak adjustment policy?

Are you considering adopting a leak adjustment policy or updating an existing one? If you have questions about leak adjustment policies, or any other policies, please give me a call at 919-232-2320 or e-mail me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com to learn how a business review could benefit your utility.

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© 2015 Gary Sanders

What is your leak adjustment policy?

Several questions have been posed in the last few months on listservs I subscribe to regarding leak adjustments. Does your utility have a leak adjustment policy? Here are some things to consider when establishing or reviewing a leak adjustment policy.

Water leak adjustments

The biggest question with a leak adjustment policy is whether to offer an adjustment for the excess water usage.

Since all water delivered through the meter costs the utility something, either in treatment costs or purchase price, simply forgiving the amount of a water leak isn’t financially feasible.

Some utilities do have adjustment policies whereby the customer only pays the wholesale price for the excess water used. Others take a more hard line approach and do not offer any leak adjustment for water.

Sewer leak adjustments

Most utilities will provide a leak adjustment if the water was lost due to a leak that did not enter the sewer system (for example, a leak in the supply line between the meter and the house).

Leaks that did enter the sewer system, such as a continually running toilet, pose the same issue as water leaks. The utility had to pay to treat the wastewater, so can they afford to offer an adjustment?

Considerations for a Leak Adjustment Policy

If you’re considering adopting a leak adjustment policy or thinking about revising an existing policy, here are some criteria commonly found in leak adjustment policies:

  • The customer must make a formal request (usually using a leak request form)
  • Proof that the leak was repaired (copy of plumber’s repair bill or a sales receipt from a plumbing supply store)
  • Excess amount of water usage to qualify for a leak adjustment (for example, the water usage must exceed twice the monthly average)
  • Limitation on the frequency of leak adjustments (for example, one adjustment in any 12 month period)
  • Maximum number of billing periods that may be adjusted due to the leak (for example, if the customer ignores the leak for three months, will you give credit for all three months?)
  • Calculation method for determining the amount of the adjustment

Quick poll

What services do you offer leak adjustments for? Please take this quick poll.

Are you considering adopting a leak adjustment policy?

Are you considering adopting a leak adjustment policy or updating an existing one? If you have questions about leak adjustment policies, or any other policies, please give me a call at 919-232-2320 or e-mail me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com to learn how a business review could benefit your utility.

Click here to subscribe to my free e-mail newsletter...

© 2015 Gary Sanders