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Our stakeholder philosophy

EPCOR believes in listening to and engaging stakeholders. We build and sustain relationships through effective consultation, ensuring stakeholders have opportunities to provide meaningful input into projects and operations that affect them. Our resulting actions are guided by our understanding of our stakeholders' interests and priorities and the values we share.

What we heard: Community priorities for water cycle utilities

Throughout 2020, we conducted public engagement for our PBR process to inform our plans and rate applications for the total water cycle — water, sanitary and stormwater drainage, and wastewater treatment — for the next three to five years.

Through this process, we committed to working with stakeholders to:

      Have public and stakeholder input inform policy choices, priority-setting for operations and capital programs, performance measurement and rate strategy
      Provide stakeholders with opportunities to ask questions, express concerns and raise issues with respect to their utility services and proposed rates
      Maintain positive and productive relationships with stakeholders
      Inform ongoing public education and communications


Who we engaged

Public engagement for the PBR renewal was an iterative process, completed over three phases:

  • Visioning and framing research
  • Detailed consultation, and
  • Validation

Stakeholders engaged throughout this process included:

  • Customers from each customer class
  • Métis Nation & Confederacy of Treaty Six Nations
  • EPCOR-engaged community groups
  • Community leagues via the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues
  • Developers and property managers

What we learned

Operating priorities

EPCOR must meet performance measures for Water Quality, Customer Service, System Reliability and Optimization, Environment and Safety.

Through engagement, we sought to learn whether there are other aspects of performance that matter to stakeholders, and which performance areas are most important to them.

Customers confirmed EPCOR has identified the main issues of importance. They include:

  • Water: maintaining water safety, quality and speed of repair of water main breaks. Secondary priorities include maintaining public and employee safety, and a continued focus on infrastructure integrity and customer support.
  • Wastewater treatment: reducing contaminants entering the river. Other priorities include public and employee safety, managing treatment volumes and reducing odour.
  • Drainage: the most important performance areas for customers are response times, maintaining performance, and reducing contaminants to the river.

This input informed our capital and operating plans. We are also recommending slight weighting adjustments in our PBR performance metrics to increase quality (water) and system reliability (wastewater and drainage utilities).

EPCOR is generally seen as a trusted operator that is doing a good job. However, stakeholder groups believe Drainage Services needs a more aggressive plan with greater investment now to reduce the likelihood of failures. The Drainage capital plan includes two new proactive programs to reduce the risk of failures that impact customers and require emergency replacement, as well as substantial investments to implement a city-wide flood mitigation plan and Corrosion and Odour Reduction Strategy.

Rate levels

Through engagement, we sought to understand how stakeholders view the value they get from the money they spend on their utilities today. We also explored what level of investment stakeholders wanted to see in their utilities in the future, and the range of acceptable rate increases to fund these investments.

The rates put forward in our applications in February 2021 considered a range of factors, including revenue requirements to sustain operations and costs to enhance service and reliability.

That said, we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted economic and social life in our community. We believe that affordable and stable utility costs supports long-term economic recovery. Why we are proposing to introduce the Edmonton Economic Recovery Rebate, which discounts $66 million in Drainage rates, keeping more money in the pockets of all customers.


Investment levels

Stakeholders view the infrastructure risks that EPCOR is managing to be increasing. Although the nature and source of risk varied by group, the consensus among stakeholders is that it would be better to invest now to avoid social and economic consequences later.

To avoid risk, stakeholders support EPCOR investing in these services for longer-term benefits and efficiencies. Many stakeholder groups lean toward smart investment with protecting water, protecting the river, and elevating drainage renewal as top priorities for investment.

The proposed plans EPCOR has put forward will result in the average residential customer bill increasing about $7 per month between 2021 and 2022. About $3.42 of that change will fund new investments in city-wide flood protection, and the corrosion and odour reduction program.

Alignment with city plan

Edmonton's City Plan will serve as a new comprehensive municipal development plan, transportation master plan, and strategic policy document to guide the city as it grows towards a population of two million, and accommodation of 1.1 million jobs.

Stakeholders told us that in addition to having forward-thinking plans for utility infrastructure, it's important to align our work with the City of Edmonton's plans. In developing our rate applications, we have worked to align our plans for water, drainage and wastewater services with the City's vision and values, as well as neighbourhood renewal.