Creating an Effective Utility Rate Change Outreach Strategy That Builds Customer Awareness and Confidence in the Rate-setting Process
Power Lunch Webinar


For public-sector agencies, the rate-setting process often starts years in advance and raising rates is crucial to the overall viability of the utility. Often, however, utilities face challenges with getting the much-needed rate increases passed due to distrust from the public or lack of understanding of the need and benefits of the change in rates.

Therefore, it’s essential for utilities to proactively communicate the value of their services early and often to gain acceptance with customers, community members and policymakers.

Join CAPIO and ACWA for a special program featuring case studies and best practices that will help communicators and utility leaders successfully build customer awareness and confidence and lead to community buy-in and understanding of the rate-setting process.

Attendees will receive a Communicating Rate Changes handout with tips and tools to successfully guide their agency’s rate-setting outreach.

Key take-aways from this webinar include:

  • 101 on Proposition 218
  • Best practices on how to engage key audiences early and often
  • Case studies on successful public utility outreach implementation programs
  • Tips to develop messaging in times of financial uncertainty
  • Insights on how to develop and implement an effective public rate-setting communications strategy and deploy tactics to build confidence and acceptance of the need for the rate change


Date: Thursday, April 22
Time: noon to 1:30 p.m.

Cost: CAPIO/ACWA Members – $25/Non-member – $40


CAPIO Certificate in Communications Credit: Community Relations and Engagement
APR Continuing Education Unit



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Ashley Metzger has served as the Outreach & Conservation Manager for Desert Water Agency (DWA) for five years. In addition to water management, she works on communicating DWA’s messages to employees, customers, community groups, elected officials and media. She serves as the vice chair Communications Committee for the Association of California Water Agencies and the vice chair of the Public Affairs Committee for the National Water Resources Association. Prior to working in water, she was a PR firm’s lead consultant on large-scale renewable energy projects in the West. She earned a master’s degree in Politics while studying in Johannesburg, South Africa and holds an undergraduate degree in Government and Economics.

Bonnie Woodrome, APR is an award-winning government communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience in communications and community outreach. She oversees Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District’s community affairs, education and water use efficiency efforts. She has also served as the media supervisor for First 5 San Bernardino. She holds her Accreditation in Public Relations and received her Bachelor of Arts from California State University Fullerton.

Camille Stephens, MPP is an account supervisor with Katz & Associates specializing in strategic communication planning, value of service and rates communication, public involvement, and public affairs. She has worked on local and statewide issues, conducted dynamic public outreach and public participation programs, and supported more than 25 water and wastewater utilities in communications efforts. Her experience working with agencies and developing partnerships with the public gives her the knowledge needed to move projects forward, maintain consistent and meaningful interaction with stakeholders and exceed expectations.  From issues associated with utility rates, capital improvement programs and funding, water supply portfolio planning, project design and construction, water quality concerns, and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) public involvement, Camille has worked with project teams to incorporate communication tools and techniques that support successful stakeholder engagement and interaction. Camille is also the go-to team member for development of informational materials, visualization tools, and graphic design management. Camille graduated from Chapman University with a BA in Political Science and earned a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Southern California.