Chapter 4

Level Of Service

4.1 Introduction

Customers are not just an important part of your business, they are your business. Without them you have no reason to exist. Not only do you need customers, but you need customers who are willing to pay a fair price to enable you to provide a sustainable service.

We should really be worried about what the customer would think.
--Kevin Campanella, Columbus, OH


Broadly defined, water utilities are in the business of providing safe, reliable drinking water at an acceptable pressure. Wastewater utilities are in the business of treating and discharging wastewater in an environmentally sound manner. Within these broad missions, utilities must determine specifically how they will operate and maintain the assets to meet customer expectations. Determining how to operate the facility to meet customer expectations is called the Level of Service (LOS.)

Level of Service (LOS) defines what you want your assets to provide and how you want them to perform. The LOS can include any components the utility and customers decide, as long as all regulatory requirements are met and the components are within the capabilities of the assets. The document that lists the levels of service, the Level of Service Agreement, will become a fundamental part of how the utility is operated and managed.

The Level of Service Agreement has many benefits:
  • It communicates the utility's operation to the customers.
  • It assists in identifying critical assets.
  • It provides a means of assessing overall utility performance.
  • It provides a direct link between costs and service.
  • It serves as an internal guide for utility management and operations staff.
  • It communicates energy efficiency and water conservation goals.
It's all based on service. That will pretty much determine your whole program
--Larry Covington, Picacho, NM


The LOS Agreement will also allow the utility to track its performance and determine how well it is meeting its goals. This performance can be communicated to the customers to reinforce how the fees they pay are related to the service they receive.