Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Threatened with governance changes and under scrutiny for Lead and Copper Rule exceedances and high-profile infrastructure failures, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) was labeled a “failing utility” by many. Thanks to PWSA’s strong leadership and the help of the team from Raftelis, things have turned around measurably. Raftelis has provided PWSA an array of financial and organizational assistance to address its challenges. 

Organizational Development 

Raftelis is working side-by-side with PWSA leadership to address major organizational challenges. The Raftelis team provided an aggressive Compliance and Organizational Plan that convinced business leaders and community officials that PWSA had a framework for success. Raftelis is now assisting PWSA to implement elements of the Compliance and Organizational Plan including the creation of a new PWSA performance improvement office called Watermark, aligning PWSA practice with Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PA PUC) requirements, and fixing a series of onerous legacy rules about hiring, resource sharing, and metering that limited performance. PWSA is rapidly gaining the confidence of its customers. 

Finances and Rates 

Raftelis was instrumental in helping PWSA enact a series of rate adjustments totaling 51% over three years to provide the necessary revenue to hire additional staff and begin fixing a decades-long backlog of infrastructure needs. The basis for these rate adjustments was a comprehensive rate and financial planning model based on a thorough cost of service and rate study, which yielded a comprehensive financial plan. Raftelis’ rate recommendations are the foundation for the adoption of a five-year rate forecast for 2017-2021. In addition, Raftelis is assisting PWSA with the allocation of operating and capital funding costs from wastewater to stormwater and with the identification of direct stormwater-related costs. These revenue requirements are being used to develop stormwater fees to, tentatively, be implemented in the near future and included in the five-year rate plan. 

These combined efforts have put PWSA on a path to success.