Comprehensive consulting services for California public agencies.
Lechowicz & Tseng Municipal Consultants' professional services include:
One-on-one direct access
All work is conducted by our principals. With our small team approach, you are provided direct access to the consultants who will guide the project through each step.
Legally sound utility rate and fee consulting
Our services are legally rigorous and comply with Proposition 218 cost of service principles. We follow industry best practices developed by the American Water Works Association. L&T is also registered by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, which allows us to provide advice regarding the structure and timing of debt and the adequacy of rate revenues to meet debt coverage requirements.
Utility Rate and Fee Studies
A rate structure tailored to meet specific objectives is fundamental to any utility’s cost recovery. We have experience in deriving both traditional and innovative rate structures that address cost of service principles as well as conservation efforts, customer acceptance, and social influences.
To ensure that the rates and charges are fair and equitable to all customer classes, we develop rates structures based on a utility’s cost of service so that revenues are commensurate with the costs to provide service for each classification.
Street Light Rate Analysis
Alison Lechowicz has served as the electric rate economist for the California City-County Street Light Association since 2011. Ms. Lechowicz’s efforts focus on analyzing electric commodity rates and street light pole rental fees charged by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric. L&T is equipped to assist public agencies with analysis of their street light bills, negotiating with the electric utilities, and advocating for new technologies such as LEDs, dimmable lamps, and ancillary devices attached to street light poles.
Our studies include a comprehensive analysis of
Water Rate Design Alternatives
Drought and Non-Drought Rates
Fixed and Volume Charges
Tiered Rate Structures
Sewer Rate Design Considerations
Wastewater Pollutant Fees
Treated vs. Untreated Rate Structures
Financial plans are crucial for any municipality to prepare for the future. We work with agencies to develop comprehensive financial plans focused on immediate needs as well as for planning for the long-term viability of a utility. We develop flexible financial models that provide sensitivity analysis and produce summary charts to illustrate the impacts of policy decisions. L&T can provide advice regarding various financial mechanisms (revenue bonds, certificates of participation, bank loans, lines of credit, grants, etc.) and the adequacy of revenues to support debt.
Development Impact Fees
Development impact fees are an important tool to offset the cost of expanding infrastructure without placing a burden on existing customers. We specialize in calculating impact fees and capacity charges that equitably allocate expansion costs between current rate payers and growth. L&T focuses on establishing the nexus between the cost of infrastructure and the fees paid by new connections. We also have experience assisting public agencies in negotiating with developers regarding fees, reimbursement agreements, and contributed facilities.
We are uniquely positioned as expert witnesses to testify on behalf of public agencies to defend against legal challenges. Both L&T principals have served as expert witnesses on past assignments. We understand how to establish an administrative record and explain technical material to the legal community. Ms. Lechowicz also represents public agencies in administrative law proceedings at the California Public Utilities Commission.
Lechowicz & Tseng assists public agencies with negotiating the purchase or sale of utility property. We develop an inventory of utility assets and determine fair market value. L&T principals have experience negotiating on behalf of our clients to achieve favorable terms.
At the conclusion of each study, we assist our clients with the public approval process from conducting informational workshops to educating the public about municipal finance. We provide start-to-finish assistance including conducting presentations to decision makers, publication of final reports, and printing and mailing of notices to ratepayers.
Whether you have in-house staff to conduct public outreach or require comprehensive noticing assistance, Lechowicz & Tseng is here to help.