Utility Rate Reviews

Principals of Ranson Financial Consultants, L.L.C. have developed a unique methodology of evaluating the effectiveness of the Utility Systems’ rate structures for a number of the cities and rural water districts in Kansas. The rate reviews are prepared utilizing customized spreadsheet modeling and are instrumental in determining if the Utility System’s rates are effective in covering the System’s expenditures in a sufficient manner. In addition to evaluating the System’s existing rate structure, the rate reviews also provide the suggestions for the optimal rate structure and the proposed impact of the rate increase on the financial situation of the System.

Utility Rate Review Process

The process is simple if you wish to have a utility rate review completed:

  • Contact us for quote of cost for review if necessary (Water Utility Review may be covered under Free Technical Assistance);
  • Send basic information to start the review.  The date we receive all the basic information is the date we use to set the priority of which reviews will take priority over others.  This date is useful if we have several reviews being worked on at once.  The sooner you get the basic information in the better;
  • Once we receive the basic information we will look through it to determine if additional information is needed.  If we end up requesting additional the priority date does not change we just cannot start working on it and will move on to the next analysis that needs to be completed.  Once we receive the additional information we will start the analysis.  The date we start the analysis will also be the start date for the system’s free year of technical assistance.

After completing the initial review, we will set-up a call to review the preliminary information (this is typically done with the Bookkeeper or City Clerk).  If the review was fairly simple to complete this call may only last approximately 30 minutes to an hour.  This step allows us to fix any problems in our forecasted figures and allows us to align our forecasts with those of the System.  Once the initial review is completed, we will update our forecasted figures and continue on with the review.   The next step is the final review.  The final review can be with the Bookkeeper or City Clerk, but may also be with the Mayor, Council/Board Members, or Operator.  The final review can be done over the phone or in person.

The final review will show the current situation of the system and if needed what increase is adequate to support the System.  We can also go back and create different scenarios that will show what the needed increase, if any, is under several different scenarios.  Some examples of the additional scenarios are 1.) Budgeting for planned upcoming capital outlay projects in the future; 2.) Building in a budget for unplanned capital outlay projects in the future; 3.) Build in transfers to any number of reserve funds and, 4.) Build in debt for upcoming projects that require loans or bonds to finance.

The final review will show a summary of all the different scenarios and how they each affect the system.  The system can then decide how to implement the change(s) if they so choose.

Water Utility

Getting Started

The Basic Information Consists of the Following Items:

  • 3 years of AUDITED Financial Statements
    • If 2013 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2013, 2012 and, 2011
    • If 2012 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2012, 2011 and, 2010
    • If 2011 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2011, 2010 and, 2009
  • 3 years of water usage reports (reports submitted to the Division of Water Resources)
  • Concurrent with the years of the audits that are sent
  • Current Rate Structure (no matter what year/month it was enacted)
  • Any other Rate Structure that has been in effect since January 1 of the earliest fiscal year that an audit was provided for (Ex January 1, 2013, January 1, 2012, or January 1, 2011 based on the examples given above)
  • Contracts for Water that is Purchased from or Sold to other Entities

Additional Information Might Include the Following (Not Required to Start on Analysis):

A Detailed Breakdown of Customers:

  • By Type
    • Residential
    • Commercial
    • Stock
  • By Meter Size
    • 5/8″ Meter
    • 3/4″ Meter
    • 1″ Meter
  • A Detailed Breakdown of Water Usage to Match the Breakdown of Customers

You can either mail the above information to the address on the contact page or click the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page to submit the information via e-mail.

Sewer Utility

Getting Started

The Basic Information Consists of the Following Items:

  • 3 years of AUDITED Financial Statements
    • If 2013 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2013, 2012 and, 2011
    • If 2012 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2012, 2011 and, 2010
    • If 2011 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2011, 2010 and, 2009
  • Current Rate Ordinance / Structure (no matter what year/month it was enacted)
  • Any other Rate Structure that has been in effect since January 1 of the earliest fiscal year that an audit was provided for (Ex January 1, 2013, January 1, 2012, or January 1, 2011 based on the examples given above)

Additional Information Might Include the Following (Not Required to Start on Analysis):

A Detailed Breakdown of Customers:

  • By Type
    • Residential
    • Commercial
    • Stock
  • By Meter Size
    • 5/8″ Meter
    • 3/4″ Meter
    • 1″ Meter
  • A Detailed Breakdown of Sewer Usage to Match the Breakdown of Customers

You can either mail the above information to the address on the contact page or click the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page to submit the information via e-mail.

Electric Utility

Getting Started

The Basic Information Consists of the Following Items:

  • 3 years of AUDITED Financial Statements
    • If 2013 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2013, 2012 and, 2011
    • If 2012 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2012, 2011 and, 2010
    • If 2011 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2011, 2010 and, 2009
  • Current Rate Ordinance / Structure (no matter what year/month it was enacted)
  • Any other Rate Structure that has been in effect since January 1 of the earliest fiscal year that an audit was provided for (Ex January 1, 2013, January 1, 2012, or January 1, 2011 based on the examples given above)
  • Contracts for Electric that is Purchased from or Sold to other Entities

Additional Information Might Include the Following (Not Required to Start on Analysis):

A Detailed Breakdown of Customers:

  • By Type
    • Residential
    • Commercial
    • Stock
  • By Meter Size
    • 5/8″ Meter
    • 3/4″ Meter
    • 1″ Meter
  • A Detailed Breakdown of Electrical Usage to Match the Breakdown of Customers

You can either mail the above information to the address on the contact page or click the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page to submit the information via e-mail.

Refuse Utility

Getting Started

The Basic Information Consists of the Following Items:

  • 3 years of AUDITED Financial Statements
    • If 2013 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2013, 2012 and, 2011
    • If 2012 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2012, 2011 and, 2010
    • If 2011 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2011, 2010 and, 2009
  • Current Rate Ordinance / Structure (no matter what year/month it was enacted)
  • Any other Rate Structure that has been in effect since January 1 of the earliest fiscal year that an audit was provided for (Ex January 1, 2013, January 1, 2012, or January 1, 2011 based on the examples given above)

Additional Information Might Include the Following (Not Required to Start on Analysis):

A Detailed Breakdown of Customers:

  • By Type
    • Residential
    • Commercial
    • Stock
  • By Meter Size
    • 5/8″ Meter
    • 3/4″ Meter
    • 1″ Meter
  • A Detailed Breakdown of Refuse Usage to Match the Breakdown of Customers

You can either mail the above information to the address on the contact page or click the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page to submit the information via e-mail.

Natural Gas Utility

Getting Started

The Basic Information Consists of the Following Items:

  • 3 years of AUDITED Financial Statements
    • If 2013 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2013, 2012 and, 2011
    • If 2012 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2012, 2011 and, 2010
    • If 2011 is the latest audit completed send audits for 2011, 2010 and, 2009
  • Current Rate Ordinance / Structure (no matter what year/month it was enacted)
  • Any other Rate Structure that has been in effect since January 1 of the earliest fiscal year that an audit was provided for (Ex January 1, 2013, January 1, 2012, or January 1, 2011 based on the examples given above)
  • Contracts for Natural Gas that is Purchased from or Sold to other Entities

Additional Information Might Include the Following (Not Required to Start on Analysis):

A Detailed Breakdown of Customers:

  • By Type
    • Residential
    • Commercial
    • Stock
  • By Meter Size
    • 5/8″ Meter
    • 3/4″ Meter
    • 1″ Meter
  • A Detailed Breakdown of Refuse Usage to Match the Breakdown of Customers

You can either mail the above information to the address on the contact page or click the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page to submit the information via e-mail.

Free Technical Assistance

What is Rate Check-Up?

Rate Check-Up is a Microsoft Excel based workbook designed to help small public water systems calculate rates for water consumption.  Rate Check-Up can generate rates for a variety of customers groups.  It uses your system’s cost and customer information to produce a suggested minimum charge and volume charge designed to recover the full costs or providing water service.  Ranson is contracted with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (“KDHE”) to provide free technical assistance for one year.

We have developed additional worksheets that are completed along with the Rate Check-Up Program in order to give a more detailed picture of the state of the system.  The additional worksheets are used to adapt the program to better fit the needs of the individual System, take historical information in account, show comparisons of historical figures and forecast figures, and allows us to produce an analysis that is more detailed and fine tuned to the needs of the System.  Due to the complexity of the extra worksheets we have found that it is easier for us to do the initial set-up of the analysis and then provide training on the program.  Once training is completed you will be able to update the analysis as often as needed, run a brand new analysis, or run a new analysis in anticipation of a new project for the system.  We are currently working with the developers at Wichita State University to develop an updated model of Rate Check-Up that combine the current program and the additional worksheets to make it more user friendly. 

Check Up Program for Small Systems (“CUPSS”)

According to EPA.gov, CUPSS is a free, easy-to-use, asset management tool for small drinking water and waste water utilities. CUPSS provides a simple, comprehensive approach based on EPA’s highly successful Simple Tools for Effective Performance (STEP) Guide series. Use CUPSS to help you develop:

  • A record of your assets;
  • A schedule of required tasks;
  • An understanding of your financial situation;
  • A tailored asset management plan.

For more information visit: epa.gov

Asset Management Program Small Systems

These programs are available through EPA and will teach you the importance of Asset Management, what it means, and the benefits. These programs are designed to help owners, managers, and operators of water systems, local officials, technical assistance providers, and state personnel. For more information about the program please visit: http://water.epa.gov/