TIR Toolkit

Communicating with Ratepayers: Getting Past Paying More for Less

Communicating with Ratepayers: Getting Past Paying More for Less

WaterNow Alliance's workshop on communicating with ratepayers provides actionable answers/strategies for connecting with customers about rates while also asking them to use less water and helps water leaders to begin to build a vision around communications opportunities for their utility. The workshop materials are reinforced and expanded on with the "Communicating with Ratepayers Toolkit."

A few workshop highlights and key takeaways:

  • It’s worth investing in a long-term communications and outreach strategy with utility ratepayers rather than going to them only “when you need something”
  • Utility leaders, staff, and board members may think they know intuitively what messages resonate, but the better strategy is to test messages with polling and focus groups
  • Social media is here to stay – at least for now – so it’s prudent to go beyond bill inserts and meet people where they are
  • The public is bombarded by between 4-10K ads per day, so breaking through the noise with any kind of communication requires a steady effort and compelling message
  • Communications does not require a big budget or large staff – Moulton Nigel Water District has had incredible success turning its staff of 139 into “brand ambassadors” in the community
  • The paying more for less conundrum is actually not that hard once you unpack it – the compelling message is that their “water rates are much lower than they would have been in the absence of [conservation].”

The workshop slides and toolkit can be downloaded by WaterNow members through the member portal linked below. Click here to read about a past workshop held in Denver, Colorado.




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