Skip to main content

Transparent Cost of Service – Six Keys for Successful Stakeholder Involvement

Buy Article:

$9.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Or sign up for a free trial

As part of its normal business practice, the Austin Water Utility (AWU) conducted a comprehensive cost-of-service study for its water and wastewater utility. Central to this study was a unique public involvement strategy that integrated advocates for various classes of customers into the process of developing AWU's rate setting methodologies. This group of advocates was called the Public Involvement Committee (PIC).

This public involvement strategy presented several challenges and opportunities to the project team. One key challenge of the strategy was ensuring that PIC members considered both the needs of the customers they represented and the needs of the utility as a whole.

This paper presents the innovative approaches used to integrate the PIC into the methodology development aspects of the study in a meaningful and constructive manner while avoiding having participants take strong positions that derailed the process. The paper highlights the role of AWU's Executive Team and the project technical team in the public involvement program and how their approaches contributed to the strategy's success. Additionally, the paper includes the results of an anonymous online survey of PIC members that was conducted after the public involvement process was concluded. The anonymous survey presents the frank opinions of the PIC members on the pros and cons of the process.

The paper also discusses techniques used by the project team to ensure the PIC had proper information to form their recommendations. These techniques include using the internet to provide PIC members the opportunity to view AWU's cost-of-service computer models and develop “what-if” scenarios in real-time. This technique ensured AWU maintained control of the computer models while enhancing the transparency of the process.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Keywords: Public Involvement Committee; Stakeholder Involvement; cost of service process; transparency

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation includes access to most papers presented at the annual WEF Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) and other conferences held since 2000. Subscription access begins 12 months after the event and is valid for 12 months from month of purchase. A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is included in Water Environment Federation (WEF) membership.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access. Access begins 12 months after the conference or event
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Learn about the many other WEF member benefits and join today
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more