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New York American Water launches water conservation program

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  • New York American Water launches water conservation program

About the entity

American Water
American Water provides high-quality water and wastewater services to approximately 15 million people in more than 1,600 communities in the United States as well as parts of Canada.
Global Omnium
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New York American Water customer rates will increase per a four-year rate plan approved by the New York State Public Service Commission in 2017. The rate plan provides for Year Three rates to begin on April 1, 2019.

A conservation rate structure was implemented in 2017, to encourage water conservation and support the long-term sustainability of the Long Island Aquifer. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) established a goal for all Long Island water suppliers to reduce summertime peak water use by 15 percent by 2021. In a conservation rate structure, the more water customers use, the higher their bills will be. New York American Water’s conservation rate structure and H2O Conservation Control Program, outlined below, are designed to help meet the DEC goal and assist customers in reducing their water bills.

New York American Water is committed to educating customers about their water use and offering them tools they can use to conserve and save money. To this end, the company executed a comprehensive analysis of customers’ water use habits to identify opportunities to conserve and save money. The results showed that Long Island customers have a great opportunity to use less water and save money.

“We learned from last year’s rate change that our company must be more proactive about educating our customers about new rates and the importance of conservation. We developed the H2O Control Conservation Program, using customer data and feedback, to provide them with meaningful education and effective tools to help conserve water and save money,” said Lynda DiMenna, President of New York American Water. “We also understand that one size doesn’t fit all, so the toolkit offers a range of water saving opportunities – from incentive programs for smart irrigation controllers to low flow shower heads – to benefit all our customers.”

H2O Control Conservation Program

The conservation study included a comprehensive analysis of customer water use data, including seasonal and location-based trends, and a customer survey to better understand customer needs and preferences. The results of the conservation study revealed that New York American Water customers over-irrigate their lawns in the summer, using more than double the average customer in any other American Water service area in 16 states. This provides an opportunity to achieve tremendous water savings through irrigation efficiency programs aimed toward high-use customers. The study also revealed that customers would prefer online tools and communications, including notifications, to help them reduce their water usage.

Using this information, the company developed the H2O Control Conservation Program, specifically tailored to its customers. The H2O Control Toolbox addresses these opportunities by including new tips, tools and technologies to help customers monitor and reduce water use. The company will be executing a multifaceted and highly targeted communications campaign that will ensure customers are informed about the rate increase and understand the different tools they can use to conserve water and save money.

A brief summary of the H2O Control program is below:

  • Outdoor Water Savings How-To Kits: An outdoor conservation kit with tips and tools for reducing outdoor water usage.
  • Indoor Water Savings Retrofit Kits: An indoor conservation kit includes a water efficient showerhead, aerators, toilet tank bank and leak detection tabs, and a Leak Detection Guide that provides tips and tricks for detecting indoor and outdoor leaks.
  • Water Use Calculator: An online tool that allows customers to input water use information specific to their household and offers tips on where they can save water and energy based on that data.
  • Irrigation Home Assessments: Evaluates whether your irrigation system is in good condition and set up correctly to apply the right amount of water in the right places at the right time.
  • Rachio 3 Smart Irrigation Controller Incentive Program: Customers who have qualifying irrigation systems and used more than 15,000 gallons of water per month during the summer may be eligible to receive a smart irrigation controller (valued at $230+) for $99.
  • Evapotransporation (ET) Notifications: Customer notifications will be sent via social media to use water more efficiently based on rainfall.
  • Improved Customer Website (MyAccount): Once live in June, customers will be able to see monthly usage for the last three years and comparisons of that usage to their neighborhood averages. The new site will also enable customers to create alerts and choose how to receive them – by email, text or mail.
  • Water Use Alerts: Available by June, customers will receive mid-month notifications to keep them informed of their water use and provide them with an opportunity to conserve before their billing cycle ends.

More information about the H2O Control Toolbox is available on the New York American Water website under Conservation.

Rates Changes

Rates are based on the cost of providing water service to customers, including investments to improve the water treatment and delivery system. In the company’s Long Island service areas, local property taxes are a significant portion of customers’ water bills, accounting for between 33% and 59%, depending on service area. Private water utilities are required to pay property taxes. While these taxes cause bills to be higher, the dollars go right back into the community to fund public services, such as schools, police, fire and other county, town and village operations.

The remaining balance of customer bills includes fixed water service charges and water use charges, which are based on a four-tier conservation rate structure.

New York American Water customers use an average of 8,000 gallons per month. Rates effective April 1, 2019, for each of the company’s service areas are as follows:

  • Service Area 1 – Lynbrook District: For residential customers using 8,000 gallons per month, the bill would change from $56.17 to $60.64 for Rate Year Three.
  • Service Area 2 – Merrick District: For residential customers using 8,000 gallons per month, the bill would change from $43.85 to $47.15 for Rate Year Three.
  • Service Area 2 - North Shore (Sea Cliff) District: For residential customers using 8,000 gallons per month, the bill would change from $72.85 to $74.17 for Rate Year Three.

The new rates and descriptions of each service area are posted on the New York American Water website under Customer Service & Billing, Your Water Rates. Customers will receive additional information regarding rate details and the H2O Control Conservation Program in a mailing from New York American Water this month.

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