EFC Project: North Carolina Water and Wastewater Rates, Rate Structures and Connection Fees
Research conducted by the EFC and the North Carolina League of Municipalities.
All related publications and tools are shown in the boxes to the left. Shortcut to:
Every year, the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) at the UNC School of Government and the North Carolina League of Municipalities (NCLM) collect rate sheets from hundreds of local government and non-governmental utilities across the State of North Carolina. These rate sheets specify how utilities charge water/wastewater customers for their water use or wastewater disposal. The sampled utilities serve over 95 percent of all customers who are directly billed for their water or wastewater use by utilities in the state. The EFC uses the rate sheets to determine what residential and commercial customers of these utilities are billed for their water, irrigation and wastewater service at various consumption levels. Information on rates and rate structures across the state are compiled into annual reports and tables and the NC Rates Dashboard and shared with utility managers, councils, and boards. This information allows for comparisons and benchmarking of current rates (and other financial data) and can assist officials and staff as they make decisions related to water and wastewater services during budget preparations.
Year (Rates Effective January/February of...)
|Number of Utilities that Participated in the Rates Survey|
Every year, the EFC and the NCLM publish a series of products resulting from the annual rates survey. All tools and publications are available for free to the public and are listed in the boxes to the left.
NC Rates Dashboard: An online, interactive visual display of each utility's rates and financial performance indicators. The dashboard is designed to assist utility managers and local officials with analyzing residential water and wastewater rates against multiple characteristics, including utility finances, system characteristics, customer base socioeconomic conditions, and geography.
Access the 2016 Dashboard (updated on March 30, 2016)
Annual Summary Report of Rates and Rate Structures: A short report summarizing the rates, rate structures and trends currently in use across the State of North Carolina. The report answers frequently asked questions about what utilities are charging, their rate structure designs, how rates have increased, affordability and financial sustainability of NC utilities.
Tables of Rates and Rate Structures: Data tables that list all utilities' residential and non-residential water, wastewater and residential irrigation rate structure details as well as the monthly-equivalent bills computed at different consumption levels.
To view your utility's rate sheet for rates effective on January 1, 2017, please select from the drop down menu. A pdf file of 2-11 pages will appear (requires Adobe Reader). Please note that some utilities may have more than one rate sheet. For example: some counties have one rate sheet per district, Raleigh has different rate sheets for different service areas, etc.
Rates effective on January 1, 2017. Please contact the utilities directly for the most up-to-date rates.
When a new house connects to a water or wastewater system for the first time, utilities often charge to make that new connection. How utilities charge for this connection, and how much, varies from utility to utility. The Environmental Finance Center and the North Carolina League of Municipalities periodically collect information about these initial, one-time fees utilities charge their residential customers for new water/wastewater connections, which are often comprised of tap (connection) fees and/or system development charges (capacity fees). Tap fees are designed to recover all or a portion of the cost (materials and labor) of connecting a customer to the nearest water or sewer line. System development charges are associated with the proportional costs of developing and maintaining system capacity to accommodate the demand placed on the system by the new customer.
The results are presented in the form of tables that list each utility's fees, and a short memo that summarizes the range of fees across hundreds of utilities statewide. Only residential fees are included in these documents; non-residential fees and other financing mechanisms such as property assessments were not included in the study.
Important Update: in August 2016, the North Carolina Supreme Court invalidated the impact fees (akin to system development charges) assessed on new development by a North Carolina town. The consequence of this ruling on municipalities is described in September 2016 blog posts by Jeff Hughes and by SOG faculty member Kara Millonzi.
View this video by Kara Millonzi and Jeff Hughes explaining these recent changes in an October 2016 webinar:
Blog posts related to drinking water & wastewater connection fees, system development charges, availability fees, special assessments, and mandatory connections in North Carolina:
- Upfront Charges for Local Government Water and Sewer Capital (Kara Millonzi, November 8, 2016)
- Important Water Impact Fee Development in North Carolina: To be or not to be, that is the question… (Jeff Hughes, September 15, 2016)
- Municipalities Not Authorized to Charge Certain Water and Sewer Impact (aka Capacity, System Development) Fees (Kara Millonzi, September 14, 2016)
- Water and Sewer District’s Impact Fee Powers (for county districts, authorities, special districts, etc.) (Kara Millonzi, February 22, 2016)
- Managing Water Impacts of NC Food Processing: Wastewater Rates and Charges for BOD and TSS (Harmony Bouley, February 23, 2016)
- Legislature Limits Government Water Utilities’ Authority to Mandate Connections (Kara Millonzi, October 5, 2015)
- How much does it cost to connect to a water and wastewater system? (Jeff Hughes, May 26, 2015)
- Do North Carolina Local Governments Have Authority to Assess Impact Fees for Water and Sewer Public Enterprises? (Kara Millonzi, August 7, 2014)
- Financing Capital Projects—Part II: Special Levies (Kara Millonzi, January 29, 2013)
- Water and Sewer Availability Fees (Kara Millonzi, February 10, 2012)
- Water and Sewer Extensions “At No Cost” – Analyzing the New Annexation Law (Frayda Bluestein, August 2, 2011)
- Using Utility Rates as an Economic Development Incentive Tool (Kara Millonzi, August 31, 2010)
- Thinking about Water and Sewer Impact Fees and Affordable Housing (Jeff Hughes, January 26, 2010)
Project funded by: Environmental Protection Agency, NC Department of Environmental Quality, NC League of Municipalities
Project last updated: Fri, 2017-02-24 12:40