What resources do you use?

In a couple previous issues, I’ve written about postings on listservs I subscribe to. A subscriber recently asked me what listservs I subscribe to and this prompted me to think about resources for utility professionals.

Listservs

A listserv is an electronic forum where questions are posed by e-mail. Each listserv subscriber receives an e-mail, either for each post or in a condensed digest. They can then respond and participate in the dialog by replying to the e-mail.

I subscribe to the NC Water Listserv and the NC Finance Listserv hosted by the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina.

Environmental Finance Centers

In case you’re not familiar with the Environmental Finance Centers, they are an EPA sponsored network of nine regional, university-based locations that provide solutions to help manage the cost of environmental protection. For water, sewer and stormwater utilities, this includes assistance with rate setting and financing options.

I’m most familiar with the Environmental Finance Center at UNC because of its proximity and I’ve participated in a number of their training sessions. If you’re not already familiar with the EFC in your region, I encourage you to research and see what it has to offer.

Rates dashboards

In addition to hosting listservs and providing technical assistance, the UNC EFC also provides a suite of tools, including a series of Rates Dashboards. These dashboards allow utilities to compare their rates and affordability with other utilities in the state.

Rates dashboards are available for the following states and Canada:

If you are located in one of these states or Canada, I encourage you to experiment with the dashboard and see how your utility compares to other utilities in your area.

What resources are most helpful for you?

As a utility professional, what resources have you found to be most helpful? Please give me a call at 919-232-2320 or e-mail me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com or post a comment below to let me know what resources you rely upon and I’ll share them in a future issue.

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© 2013 Gary Sanders

Reflecting on the first year and holiday wishes

The next issue will mark the completion of one full year of publishing the Utility Information Pipeline. In looking back on the past year, and realizing that the last issue for the year won’t arrive until after Christmas, I decided to send a special issue with some reflections and acknowledgements.

Subscribers

I want to take a moment to thank all of my readers who have taken the time to comment on my blog, send me an e-mail or give me a call about something they read in my newsletter. I am especially grateful to those subscribers who let me know that something I wrote provided them with new information or caused them to reevaluate how they are doing things. I also want to thank those readers of my newsletter who felt that the content was valuable enough to pass along to co-workers and colleagues and encourage them to subscribe as well.

I also want to thank two organizations that have publicized my blog and, in turn, given me more exposure.

SmallWaterSupply.org

The first of these is SmallWaterSupply.org. I found this site through their Twitter feed at @help4smallwater and sent an e-mail introducing myself to Steve Wilson, the director of SmallWaterSupply.org.  Much to my surprise, they featured my blog in their next weekly e-mail newsletter (you can read it here). Their newsletter is filled with good information and you can read past issues and subscribe to it here. If you aren’t already a subscriber to the SmallWaterSupply.org newsletter, I recommend it – especially if yours is a small water utility.

American Water Works Association

The American Water Works Association’s Customer Service Community site went live on Monday, December 12. I’m proud to say that my blog is listed as a Customer Service Organization on their Customer Service Resources page. The Customer Service Community, along with the Conservation Community, which is another great resource, can be found by clicking on the Professional and Technical Resources tab from the AWWA.org home page.

Social media

As I mentioned above, I’m now on Twitter, where I found SmallWaterSupply.org. You can follow me on Twitter at @GaryASanders.

If you’re an avid Facebook user, I now have a Facebook page for my blog at www.facebook.com/UtilityInformationPipeline. Please feel free to check it out and “like” my blog while you’re there.

I believe that social media can be a tool for utilities to communicate with their customers. As I become more familiar and comfortable using social media myself, I suspect that I will be writing a future newsletter about how it can benefit utilities.

Holiday wishes

Thank you again for taking the time to read my newsletter and for all the support and encouragement I have received this past year.

I want to wish each of my readers a joyous holiday season and health and prosperity in the new year.

I’m always looking for ideas to write about in this newsletter, so if you have an idea or suggestion of a topic that you would like to learn more about, please give me a call at 919-232-2320 or e-mail me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com.

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© 2011 Gary Sanders