Water, sewer and electricity rates

An exhaustive review of utility rates for electrical, sewer and water was undertaken by experts in the industry this year, with the aim to make sure each utility is sustainable for the next generation. The study:

  • Determined how much it costs to provide the service (things like operations, maintenance, capital construction, administration and dividend costs
  • Determined how much each type of customer (residential, commercial, industrial) should pay
  • Reviewed and adjusted administration fees and the electrical utility dividend to be more fair and consistent with industry
  • Recommended sewer charges be calculated on fixed charge plus a variable amount based on water use
  • Compared to what customers in other areas pay to different municipalities for electrical, water, sewer and taxes

Based on these findings, changes to the rates are proposed over 5 years to make sure these vital services will continue for our community.

What does this mean for customers?

The rate changes could mean different things, depending on what type of customer, or “rate class,” you are. Rate increases for the water and sewer utilities were stabilized through borrowing for large capital projects. You will see changes on your monthly bill, based on annual increases over a five-year period (2015-2020). Most City utility customers fall under three broad categories:

  • Residential customers: According to the study, residential customers on average are under-paying electrical and water rates, and over-paying for sewer. The change to electrical rates would see the average monthly bill increase by $23.60 in five years, based on annual increases no more than 4.1%. Water bills would increase a total of $18 per month in five years. Sewer charges will go down over five years for residential customers, with an average decrease of $7.40 per month in five years. Check out this graph [PDF - 14 KB].
  • Small commercial customers: According to the study, these customers are over-paying on electricity and water rates, and under-paying on sewer rates. The increases to electrical rates will be less for this customer group, ranging from 1.4% to 3.1% each year, for a monthly bill increase of $60.60 in five years. Water bills will increase by $64.60 per month, and sewer customers will pay $91.50 more on average per month in that five-year period. Check out this graph [PDF - 14 KB].
  • Industrial customers: According to the study, these customers are also over-paying on electricity and water rates, and under-paying on sewer rates. The changes to electrical rates will be less for this customer group, ranging from 1.4% to 3.2% each year, for a monthly bill increase of $527.40 in five years. Industrial customers would have marginal adjustments on water rates, with average monthly increases totalling $198.60 in five years. For sewer, customers would pay $304.80 more per month in five years. Check out this graph [PDF - 14 KB].

Need to know more?

This is an overview designed to help customers understand the changes –but if you would like more details, you can read the:

Copies are available at City Hall, or you can download from list above.

When would this come into effect?

Rate changes would be phased in over 5 years – this help customers plan for coming costs in the years to come.

Do I get a say?

Yes. You are welcome to provide your thoughts and comments in writing at City Hall or City Yards, or emailed to mitch.moroziuk@penticton.ca by Nov. 27. All feedback will be compiled and presented to Council before a decision is made – tentatively scheduled for Dec. 7. For questions or more information, call 250-490-2515.