December 09, 2015 - 4:30 PM
PENTICTON - Changes are coming to the way Penticton residents pay their water bills.
The city currently reads and bills for water consumption on a semi-annual basis while electricity is billed on a monthly schedule. The irregular water charges result in budget issues for residents and greater customer dissatisfaction, City Chief Financial Officer Colin Fisher told council this week.
Staff asked council to approve monthly billing, which Fisher said will result in more timely account of water use, giving customers an earlier opportunity to discover leaks in their system and adjust water use in order to avoid higher bills, especially during summer months. Monthly billing will also make it easier for customers to expense payments over 12 bills, instead of paying two large bills each year.
Fisher noted staff time will be reduced by not having to manage customers angry about the previously irregular bills, referring to a recent incident involving a Penticton resident who was upset over their electricity being shut off.
Council agreed to the staff recommendation.
Penticton residents will receive notice of the change in the coming days as the city prepares to implement monthly reading and billing for the water utility in 2016.
The change will not result in extra billing being issued by the city — the water and electrical bills are currently printed on a combined bill. It will cost the city an estimated $2,200 in the first year in additional staff time to read meters in order to acquire a full year of consumption history, and an additional $720 annually after that.
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