Utility rate review

Water, sewer and electrical: let’s talk utility rates

Have your say on how much you pay for water, sewer or electrical services.

The City of Penticton needs to make sure it can provide reliable water, sewer and electrical services to the community now and for generations to come. Earlier this year, the City began reviewing its rates for those services, and what might be needed in future. People are invited to find out more about the preliminary findings, and give input on what type of approach the City should take in setting utility rates.

“There are a lot of questions about how the rates of important municipal services like water, sewer and electrical are established. The utility rate review set out to establish new rates based on the cost of ensuring our services are reliable now and in the future,” Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said. “A lot of work has been done to investigate how much it costs to provide those utility services, and what the future costs like capital upgrades might look like. We encourage people to learn more and provide input on the preliminary findings.”

The rate review looked at how much each utility needs to charge to generate enough revenue to operate, maintain and complete capital upgrades. The review looked at existing customer classes and how much residential, commercial and industrial users should pay. Administration fees, a potential institutional rate and a different approach to sanitary sewer charges were also examined.  It also compared Penticton to other municipalities, and what other electrical utilities give their shareholders in the form of a dividend. The City’s electrical dividend is reinvested into the annual capital works program.

Some of the preliminary findings:

  • The current rates charged for water, sewer and electrical services need to change to sustain the utilities.
  • Some customer classes pay rates for services higher than they should.
  • Some customer classes pay rates for services lower than they should.
  • Administration fees need to be adjusted.
  • The electrical dividend (what’s reinvested into the annual capital works program,) should be reduced.
  • Capital investments could be significant and there are different ways of funding those costs.
  • An “institutional rate,” covering schools and hospitals, could be implemented at a cost.

Open houses

The City of Penticton wants to talk to the public about those rates, to better define how people want to approach rate setting.

Three public open houses will be held next week, where people can learn more about the preliminary findings and offer input for the next stage of the process:

  • Monday, Aug. 24 from 5-7 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers
  • Tuesday, Aug. 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Cherry Lane Mall
  • Wednesday, Aug. 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Penticton Public Library foyer

Have your say online

Next steps

Based on people’s input, the feedback will provide an indication of how best to narrow down any rate changes, before they are considered for approval.

Have questions?

Contact 250-490-2500 if you would like to know more about the open houses or presentation material.