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Customer Assistance Programs for Multi-Family Residential and Other Hard-to-Reach Customers

Janet Clements, Robert Raucher, Karen Raucher, Lorine Giangola, Michael Duckworth, Stacey Issac Berahzer, Jeff Hughes, Scott Rubin and Roger Colton


August 1, 2017

Customer Assistance Programs - Cover imageThe affordability of water-related services is an increasing concern in many communities as drinking water, wastewater and stormwater rates continue to escalate at rates higher than inflation. Many drinking water and wastewater utilities are responding to this by providing bill-paying customers with financial support using a wide range of customer assistance approaches. However, most customer assistance programs (CAPs) do not meet the needs of households in multi-family buildings, single-family renters, and others who do not receive bills directly from their water or wastewater service providers. This research, sponsored by the Water Research Foundation,  provides drinking water and wastewater utility professionals with insights into the magnitude of the financial assistance needs of households that do not receive drinking water or wastewater bills, and describes assistance strategies and programs that can be used to decrease the financial impact of raising rates on these “hard-to-reach” (H2R) customers. This report also provides utilities with tools they can use to develop a better understanding of the H2R households in their communities, evaluate their options for assisting these households, and effectively implement selected program options.

Learn more about our work in water research.