Seasonal Rates—The Pros and Cons: A Case Study

by Frank Gradilone, III, United Water Resources, Harrington Park, United States,
Mark D. Rothenberg, United Water Resources, Harrington Park, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Management in the '90s: A Time for Innovation


The Spring Valley Water Company, an investor owned water utility serving over 58,000 customers in Rockland County, New York, implemented a seasonal differential rate structure in 1980. Analysis of summer peaking since the implementation of the rates clearly shows that they have had a significant impact on peak day loads. The ratio of the annual peak day to the average day has decreased by about 15%. On the positive side, the decrease in peaking has allowed the Company to delay the construction of a new, expensive capital project, and based on surveys of customers, has changed the summer water use habits of a significant portion of the company's customers. On the negative side, the rates caused a huge increase in customer complaints (especially during the first year of implementation), has led to customer confusion about rate levels, and highlighted deficiencies in standard meter reading and billing practices.

Subject Headings: Case studies | Client relationships | Seasonal variations | Water meters | Economic factors | Impact loads | Project delay | Construction companies | New York | United States

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