The Environmental Finance Center at UNC aims to increase awareness of, and interest in, environmental finance.
Research by the EFC was featured in an article in the January 2016 issue of the Journal of American Water Works Association focused on water infrastructure and finance. The article describes research by the EFC and its partners on nonresidential water customers. Nonresidential customers are diverse and include commerical customers, institutional customers, and industrial customers - from a large university campus to a small business office with a toilet and a sink.
By analyzing and tracking water use among nonresidential customers , utilities can project fluctuations in use over time and improve pricing schemes and business practices. Nonresidential customers contribute significantly to water utilities' financial resources and water resource demand profiles, yet they are not studied or benchmarked nearly as often as residential customers. Conducting business intelligence on a utility's largest customers can improve the way the utility does business: the finance director can better project revenue, the billing staff can correct erroneous (and potentially costly) miscategorizations, customer service representatives can build relationships, and water resource planners can better understand how different nonresidential customers respond to price and nonprice signals.
This article describes an analysis of four urban water utilities in North Carolina (Orange Water and Sewer Authority, Fayetteville Public Works Commission, City of Cary, and City of Greensboro) to demonstrate the significance of nonresidential customers. Further, this article proposes methods of analysis that can be used to understand and project nonresidential customer water use, including key account programs, water use plateaus, and meter right sizing.
This study uses customer-level billing analysis and in-depth water utility staff consultations to assess better ways to measure the impacts of nonresidential customer's water use and engage more effectively with this important customer class.
The article is titled "A Better Understanding of Nonresidential Water Customers Through Analysis".
To read the full article, download it from the Journal AWWA website.