Effective January 2019, the Town of Stony Plain will move from a combined water and sewer rate to a variable rate. Council first expressed interest in a variable rate billing structure during their 2018 Council Strategic Retreat. The new model will help promote water conservation, and will also be more straightforward and simple to both administer and understand.
Currently, the Town bills a fixed rate and a variable rate for water and sewer utilities. The fixed rate covers all costs associated with running the utility including staff, equipment maintenance, and insurance costs. As of 2018, the monthly fixed fee is $16.10 for water and $14.60 for sewer. The variable rate pays for the cost of the commodity, plus a rate of return to help cover future infrastructure requirements. The current billing system has been in place since 2005.
Administration completed an analysis of the current billing structure versus moving towards one variable rate for each of the utilities. The comparison was based on the May billing cycle and found switching to a variable rate would result in no extra Town revenue. Furthermore, the approximately 80% of Stony Plain users who consume 20 cubic meters of water or less each month will either see no change or a decrease on their monthly bill under the new model.
“The Town’s total water consumption has been decreasing even as the number of water meters has increased,” says General Manager of Corporate Services Jen Boleski. “This indicates residents have become more conscious of the amount of water they’re using. The new structure will see heavier users of the commodity paying more depending on their usage.”
“Water is one of our most valuable resources and it’s important to be accountable in our use of it,” says Mayor William Choy. “Under this new utility model, residents who consume less water well see the low use reflected in their monthly bill, while high consumption users will see an increase. Moving to this variable rate will promote conservation and responsible use of water in Stony Plain.”
The switch in billing structure will be accompanied by a public awareness communications campaign to educate residents and businesses about the effects of a switch, the ways in which they will or won’t be impacted, and the differences between the two rate structures. Because water consumption levels fluctuate depending on the time of year, the campaign will also aim to teach water conservation tips and tricks season by season. More information about the campaign will come later this year.
For more information, contact:
General Manager, Corporate Services
Town of Stony Plain
For media inquiries, contact:
Stephanie Barsby Boisvert
Corporate Communications Officer
Town of Stony Plain