June Newsline: Orlando's 5-year wastewater plan; IA sewer grant; Texas invests in wind and more

June 2010 Vol. 65 No. 6

To increase understanding among its customers about the value of water, New Jersey American Water has added a conservation component to its rate filing. An outgrowth of the company's "Save Blue, Save Green" (save water, save money) initiative, the proposed conservation program includes:
• A do-it-yourself online water audit tool to help customers identify ways to use water more efficiently based on their water-use habits.
• A rebate program to encourage customers to purchase water-saving appliances and fixtures
• Web-based tools for customer education, and ease of obtaining and submitting rebate applications and purchasing water-saver kits

Additionally, the company will focus conservation efforts to help customers – who are eligible for New Jersey American Water's Low Income Payment Program (LIPP) – save water. Those customers could receive a comprehensive telephone audit of water use and potential savings opportunities; free water-saving retrofit kits; discounted leak repairs and plumbing; and plumbing assistance to install water-efficient devices.

Another aspect of the program would tie conservation to a tiered rate structure. A proposed pilot program for residential customers in portions of Monmouth County would implement a three-tier increasing block water rate structure on a seasonal basis from May through September. The less water customers use, the less they would pay. The first block applies to the first 4,000 gallons per month, the second block applies to the next 6,000 gallons per month, and the third block applies to usage above 10,000 gallons per month. The cost per gallon would increase with each rate block. The typical New Jersey residential household uses 7,000 gallons of water each month. This program would allow New Jersey American Water to send the appropriate pricing signals to customers regarding their water usage, as well as determine whether these price signals have an impact on customer usage.