Recently Kurt Gesell wrote a letter to the editor of the Anchor entitled “Water and Sanitary sewerage charges, Chestermere” where many topics were discussed.
I would like to provide some clarifications to several of the questions raised by Mr. Gesell, and I want to personally thank him for taking the time to raise these questions.
One question posed by Mr. Gesell is whether “Basic” utility charges pay for the costs of utility installations to support new development areas. The answer is no as the standard industry practice is for land developers to pay for new utility infrastructure costs and pass these costs through to lot prices. The “Basic” utility charge pays compensates CUI for fixed costs. Some examples of “fixed costs” are those to employ certified water system operators (certified to Alberta Environment and Water requirements); to read meters and bill; and to maintain system and quality control (i.e. inspection and water quality), to name just a few. Each utility customer pays an equal share of these costs for water/wastewater service.
CUI has a program for customers, like Mr. Gesell, who can save money if they are away for 2 to 3 months (or more) at a time. You can contact CUI at 403-207-7-CUI (207-7284) to pause your water service by not paying “Basic” charges for a fee.
There have been many questions about rate increases – mainly asked by customers like Mr. Gesell who were away during the winter months. CUI has worked alongside the Town of Chestermere to inform utility customers about the 2012 utility rate increases. All of these communications, which are in the form of Mayor Messages, CEO Messages and general Q&A’ s can be found on the CUI website at www.cuinc.ca.
Mr. Gesell raises a very good question whether or not CUI customers are being rewarded enough for water conservation efforts. In Chestermere, we have a two-tiered water pricing structure. If a customer uses less than 18 m3 per month, a rate of $0.8 / m3 is paid and for use above 18 m3 then $1.60 / m3 is charged. The threshold amount is intended to be a reasonable use of water for an average family’s water consumption. I encourage you write us at email@example.com, or call us, to let us know if you believe this water conservation incentive is significant enough, or if you have other ideas.
Paul Blaha, CEO, Chestermere Utilities Inc.