On October 31, 2011 EPCOR filed an application with the BC Comptroller of Water Rights for water rates to cover the period January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2014. The proposed water rates support the cost of providing water services to residents and maintaining and upgrading the system. EPCOR's application includes interim (refundable) and final water rates.
Questions and Answers
Why are water rates changing?
The proposed water rates support the cost of providing water services and maintaining and upgrading the system. Rate adjustments are required to reflect the new rate structure approved by the Comptroller of Water Rights and to enable the utility to carry out scheduled operating and capital programs for the 2012 – 2014 period.
What system upgrades are planned for French Creek during the 2012 – 2014 period?
The investments planned for the 2012-2014 period are required to improve system reliability and meet ongoing maintenance requirements. They include:
Well development and rehabilitation
Water treatment plant upgrades
Standby generator installation
Water main upgrades
Distribution system leak detection
What are the changes to the rate structure?
The proposed water rates are based on a new rate structure that was approved by the Comptroller of Water Rights on May 12, 2011. The new rate structure promotes efficient water consumption. At present, the more water you use, the less you pay for a cubic meter of water, which promotes the inefficient use of water. With the new structure, you will pay the same amount for each cubic meter of water over the base amount of 15 cubic meters.
Are my water rates going up?
EPCOR’s 2012 – 2014 water rates will be adjusted for residential, multi-residential, commercial and fire protection customers. For 2012, due to the impact of changes in the rate structure, residential customers will see an increase, while multi-residential and commercial customers will see a decrease in their water rates. For 2013 and 2014, all customers will see an increase in their rates.
How will this affect me?
A residential customer will see an increase of $1.61 increase per month in 2012, a $1.48 increase per month in 2013 and a $1.57 increase per month in 2014. This is based on water consumption of 15 cubic meters per month and includes the impact of adjustments to both the proposed rates and rate riders.
Will the amount of water in the “Base Rate” change?
No, the “base rate” will continue to include 15 cubic meters of water per month.
Why don’t you remove the “Base Rate” and charge on all water consumption?
The base rate provides budget stability for customers and is consistent with rate structures used by other utilities in the area. It is also used to cover some of the fixed costs associated with providing water service.
Why are residential customers paying more than multi-residential customers?
The new rate structure is based on a Cost of Service study that determines the appropriate costs associated with servicing the various types of customers in a fair and equitable manner. This study determined that the costs for multi-residential customers were lower for the following reasons:
Only one meter to maintain
Meter reading and billing distribution (one building vs. multiple single family addresses)
Bill collection (time, resources dedicated to one building vs. multiple single family addresses)
Multi-residential customers own the distribution inside the complex and the utility does not have to maintain it.
When do the new rates start?
The new rates are effective January 1, 2012 and will appear on your April 2012 bill.
What are interim rates? Why are they already approved?
Interim rates are the rates that will be charged if the final rates are not implemented before the first billing period of 2012.
When will I know if the proposed rates are approved?
EPCOR will be notifying customers by mail when a final decision is issued by the Comptroller of Water Rights.
What is a rate rider?
A rate rider is a temporary charge or credit to recover or refund to customers outstanding balances in EPCOR's deferral accounts.
What is a deferral account?
Deferral accounts are used to record the difference between forecast and actual revenues or costs in prior years which are difficult to forecast, volatile and outside of EPCOR’s control. EPCOR currently uses four deferral accounts: consumption volumes, property tax, interest and hearing costs. Using deferral accounts prevents rate increases that could result, for example, from higher-than-forecast interest rates.
Where can I get more information about EPCOR's application?
If you have a question that has not been addressed, please contact our office.
As noted in Appendix B of Order No. 2288 , customers had until December 21, 2011 to submit comments (or questions of the Utility) on the application to the Secretary to the Deputy Comptroller of Water Rights.
A copy of the application is also available for viewing at our office.