Analyzing a treasure trove of data to design sustainable—and more equitable—rates for Ann Arbor
With clear evidence of customer usage patterns, cities can design water rates that better reflect the true cost of service. This allows them to charge different customer classes correctly. To recognize these patterns, many utilities have invested in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), which provides utilities with real-time data on water consumption.
The City of Ann Arbor adopted AMI early and has been gathering data for more than a decade. But, because the data is extremely difficult to synthesize into a cohesive format, for a long time, the City couldn’t use it to design more equitable rate structures. Fortunately for residents, the City was committed to leveraging this data and asked our team to help with the analysis.
Our team studied Ann Arbor’s AMI data to determine how customers were using the water system on a peak-day and peak-hour basis. Intensive data cleaning, synthesis, and analysis revealed some new and interesting usage patterns. With this clear, incontestable evidence, the City can now identify and allocate system costs back to users based on observed behavior.
Today, with a firm grasp of usage behaviors, community values, and system requirements, Ann Arbor’s rates and charges can be tailored to meet the City’s unique local needs.
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