Gwinnett County

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources (GCDWR) serves about 250,000 customers in the northeast sector of the Atlanta metro area. In 2020, the GCDWR engaged Raftelis to provide an affordability assessment and to provide recommendations for customer assistance plans to help reduce the substantial number of customers that were routinely getting locked-out of their water service. GCDWR was interested in examining and determining possible reasons that customers were not making adequate and timely payments leading to lock-off status. Based on the new EPA affordability guidelines, Raftelis examined affordability for the County by examining the average bill by census tract related to the lowest quintile income of that census tract, and the impact that future rate increases would have. Additionally, Raftelis examined customer information for those customers that were regularly locked-off to determine how much these lock-offs were costing GCDWR and to determine the similarities and correlations between these customers. Several key focus areas were identified with specific tasks for each focus area. These focus areas with tasks (customer assistance plans) were developed for the GCDWR to implement in effort to reduce the number of customers experiencing lock-offs.