Erie County Water Authority

Buffalo, New York, United States

Raftelis assisted the Erie County Water Authority (Authority) in performing a water cost-of-service and rate structure review study to better understand the cost of serving the Authority’s various customer classes and to determine the most appropriate and equitable way to recover those costs. The primary goal of the study was to maintain revenue sufficiency through rates that are equitable and reasonably recover costs for each service provided.

Raftelis evaluated the appropriateness of modifications to the Authority’s current rate structure to better meet these needs and to recognize a recent dynamic change in water consumption patterns. Raftelis also developed a rate structure that discourages the wasteful use of water, especially when the wasteful use leads to an unnecessary need for additional resources to serve such wasteful demand. The final approved and implemented rates included customer class-based volumetric rates and stand-alone fixed charges by meter size. Raftelis also recommended revised bulk water sales for the Authorities wholesale customers. To implement the new rates and structures, an opinion letter was necessary to present the financial feasibility of the new rates over a five-year forecast period. Raftelis developed this forecast for the Authority and documented it in a final financial feasibility report. The new rates were implemented in 2017. Recently, Raftelis updated the Authority’s rate model to prepare a new 5-year plan of rate increases. The plan was ultimately approved, with the first rate increase going into effect January 2021.