Water Metering FAQ

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Water Metering FAQ

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  • Brin Finley May 20, 2020, 9:52 PM (2 years ago)

    I live in the Squamish Pointe condo building - 38003 Second Ave.
    1. When will water metering be implemented for this building and when will billing begin and what period will the first bill cover?
    2. How will my annual utilities bill from the District be affected and when will this change happen?
    regards
    Brian Finley

    • Communications May 21, 2020, 12:32 PM (2 years ago)

      Hello Brin.

      Here's the response from the Director of Major Projects:

      Your strata management company will be receiving a letter from Neptune Technologies, the contractor selected to undertake the water meter installation work, within the next two weeks. This letter will provide the management company with instructions to schedule the meter installation using Neptune’s online booking software. Meter installations are scheduled to start on June 8, so I expect that your building’s meter will likely be installed sometime in June.

      Regarding billing, for the time being you will continue to be billed for water usage based on a flat annual rate, and not based on actual water usage. Once the water meter implementation program is complete and all multi-family and industrial, commercial, and institutional properties in Squamish have water meters, the District will undertake a water rate analysis to determine fair and equitable usage-based water rates. It is currently anticipated that the water rate analysis will be completed in 2022, with usage-based billing to follow in either 2022 or, more than likely, 2023.

      When the switch to usage-based billing occurs, you will no longer pay the flat utility rate on your utility bill as you currently do. Once this new billing structure is implemented, your building strata will receive one bill based on the total usage for the building and will collect fees from residents through Strata fees. Each Strata can decide how to apportion costs, but typically, costs are allocated based on the floor area of each unit.

  • Angela Muellers Jan 8, 2020, 1:12 PM (3 years ago)

    After some emails from the District I now have a better understanding of the new water meter system that is underway. I have asked for an update on this webpage so that home owners have more information. As I understand it currently commercial businesses have meters. The District can calculate how much residential home water use is in general but can only make an educated guess as to how much multi family buildings water use is as compared to single dwelling homes. All home owners are paying a portion of the cost of maintaining the water system with their Utility bill.

    Once multi family home complexes are metered the District can calculate what percentage of water is being used by single dwelling homes and bill accordingly. All single dwelling homes will pay the same bill regardless if you are a single person or renting out suites/rooms.

    Multi family complexes will have one meter and the strata will be charged for the water use that each complex uses. Complexes who use more will be billed for more - those who use less will pay less. It is up to each strata to distribute the bill either by unit numbers or devise another method by occupancy if approved by individual strata councils.

    Owners of multi level complexes may have a decrease in their water bill or increase compared to current costs depending on how much each complex uses.

    Owners of single dwelling homes may also face either an increase or decrease depending on the data collected from multi dwelling homes once all of the meters have been in place.

    All home owners portion of the water utility bill is not currently equatable nor will it be in the future. In metering multi family homes the data may show that these homes use less that individual single dwelling homes. If so townhouse/condo owners may pay less than single dwelling homes or vice versa depending on the results of the meters.

    My reaction is that homes with less people living in them are going to continue to pay more than their share of water use as compared to homes with multiple people and owners who are renting illegal suites. I am unsure as to why the District plans to make a change from the current system. How is this going to benefit the District? I do agree that everyone needs to be more conscious of water conservation.

    • Simon Feb 28, 2020, 10:03 AM (3 years ago)

      Hi Angela,
      Could not agree more with you.
      I too have had discussion with District but they will not budge on this issue.

      Their 3 self published aims are:

       Customer equity – installation of meters will allow the District to work towards this by billing the community’s largest industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) water users for actual water consumption – condos/townhomes are not ICIs

       Water conservation – water meters paired with a new water rate structure will support the sustainability of the District’s water source, deferred capital upgrades, reduced load on wastewater facilities, and energy savings – this will not encourage individuals in water conservation it may even have a detrimental affect & encourage profligate use

       Water system management – water meters will allow the District to identify leakage areas, high consumption users, and assist with system planning through accurate water measurement and performance monitoring – condo/townhomes are generally lower consumption users compared to single family homes; will not provide any valuable statistics as it does not assess individual households just a bunch of random house dwellers – “Single-family homes account for 90% of water service connections in Squamish (representing an estimated 60% of total water consumption,”

      I suggested that instead of using the money to install water meters only to multi-family they should randomly select 300 households from distinct groups such as single-family, condos and townhomes. This way they could assess system management far more accurately & effectively, actually encourage water saving and it would be equitable.

      They listened but nothing changed! Funny that.

  • Angela Muellers Dec 29, 2019, 8:48 PM (3 years ago)

    As a long term resident in Squamish I have noticed that our Utility bill has more than tripled since I have lived here. I do not understand the District's logic of billing townhouses and not single dwelling homes from a perspective of building a fair community. I am a single person townhouse owner and will be paying for at least two other people's water use if our strata votes to divide the bill by the number of units. As a single person I do not have two incomes as most of the other residents in my complex. My direct neighbours have children. Affordability is already very difficult and this proposal targets single people living in townhouses to carry the weight of their neighbours. I also do not understand from a fairness point of view why the District would claim that they are not at this time metering houses, only townhouse complexes. My neighbour who owns a single dwelling home has a small cottage that she rents out, a trailer on her property, and takes in borders. My other neighbours have multiple renters. Many homes in Squamish have suits with multiple residents yet townhouse owners are required to pay a water bill?

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