Starting Jan. lst, residents of Red Deer will see a change in how their costs for water and wastewater will be calculated.
The fixed monthly charge will go down, while the cost for the actual amount of water used will go up. So the less water residents’ use, the lower the water and wastewater bills should be. The changes, to be phased in over five years, are meant to be revenue neutral, but encourage water conservation and still meet revenue requirements. City utilities are designed to be self-supporting.
“Before this residents had no way to influence their utility bills. This shift, which is happening over five years, means people will actually see a difference on their utility bills. Some bills will go up a little bit, some will go down,” said Councillor Paul Harris. “But the key message is that they (residents) have influence over that bill. We didn’t have that before. We’ve heard a lot from citizens, that people wanted to be able to affect their bills and they’ve complained, that I only use two cubic metres of water but my neighbours get the same bill and they water the lawn every day. So flat fees will go down and usage fees will go up.”
Paul Goranson, director of development services for the City, added, “It moves from more of a fixed fee to more of a variable or usage based fee and now a portion of your wastewater bill will be based on the amount of water you use.” He said it creates an opportunity for residential water users to affect their bill. However, he added, commercial users won’t see a change in their wastewater costs.