23 September 2022 / Vienna, Austria
Closing in on the Finish Line: Utility Management Training Passes the Seventh Training Module
Contributed by:
Voice of the Danube
26 September 2022

The first Utility Management Training class is approaching graduation, having passed the core training week of module 7, and steering towards the final module 8, which will be held as a live course in November in Vienna.

UMT, the Utility Management Training is the flagship program of D-LeaP, the Danube Learning Partnership. Cooperating with leading utilities in Central and Eastern Europe, Sofia University, and the World Bank as an institutional partner, this program aims to “equip” current and future water-sector managers with tools and techniques to support their decision making, and to promote best practices to ensure reliable, safe, inclusive, transparent, and responsive WSS services delivered by efficient, resilient, innovative and economically sustainable utilities.

A wider perspective

Module 7 is titled “UER - Utility Economics and Regulation”. Following up on six modules that, step by step, cover core functions in a water and wastewater utility, from network operations and plant management to finances, customer service and metering, this module looks at the wider economic, regulatory and social environment in which utilities operate. It looks at the concept of water sector regulation from a historic and practical perspective, also touching related topics such as policy making, utility governance, planning and supervision on the central, regional and municipal levels.

Utility Economics and Regulation also delves deeply into the tariff theme, treating key components of tariffs like assets, customers, water volumes and cost-vs-revenue structures, links between financial statements and tariffs, different approaches to tariff structuring and approval processes, reviewing an exemplary tariff model using simplified sensitivity analyses, and treating some aspects of utility financing as well.

A sprint to the finish line

Another module topic is the anatomy of contractual models that specify what utilities should do with the public assets they operate. In addition, the UER module provides short introductions to related sub-topics such as EU water regulations and their evolution, the role of European stakeholders in the sector, contractual and economic novelties, etc, encouraging participants to reflect on the complex background of rules and regulations for water utilities. The core training sessions of module 7 were held between 19 and 23 September, with trainers Sylvia Dimova, Ivaylo Kastchiev and Rado Russev interacting with the participants via Zoom.

The eight and final module will be “live” again, scheduled for the end of November in Vienna. The pioneering class of the Utility Management Training has its eyes on the finish line.