Project #4671

Navigating Legal Pathways to Rate-Funded Customer Assistance Programs: A Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities

Principal Investigator
Research Manager
Mr. Jonathan Cuppett
National Association of Clean Water Agencies
Customer Relations & Stakeholder Engagement
Utility Management


Previous reports on the topic of affordability and customer assistance programs (CAPs) for water and wastewater customers have focused more on examples of existing programs without a deep analysis of the enabling legal framework that made the program possible. This project highlights how the legal framework in states across the country has shaped and made many of these programs successful, or how the legal framework has in some cases severely limited the design and implementation of programs. Examples from all 50 U.S. states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, are included. This project focuses on how CAPs can be financed by the utility. Specifically, the emphasis is on the ability to finance CAPs directly from rate revenues.

The project produced a final report, posted below. The report includes several case studies. In addition, state specific updates can be found on the University of North Carolina Environmental Finance Centers website.  

This project was funded by the Water Research Foundation, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, American Water Works Association, National Association of Clean Water Agencies, National Association of Water Companies, Water Environment & Reuse Foundation, and Water Environment Federation. Published in 2017.