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City of Penticton rate review says utility rates must go up

A utility rate review of Penticton's electricity, water and sewer rates is recommending steady increases in order to ensure each utility is financially sustainable.
Image Credit: infonews file photo
November 05, 2015 - 6:30 PM

PENTICTON - A key finding of a recently completed review of Penticton’s utility rates is annual rate increases are needed in future years in order for the city to maintain infrastructure and financial sustainability.

If the recommendations from the review are adopted, residents will be paying an additional $34 dollars per month on average for electricity, water and sewage by 2020.

Small commercial operations could expect to pay an additional $251 monthly, while large commercial and industrial enterprises could expect to pay an additional $1,030 monthly.

The report, which cost taxpayers $65,000, was tabled at a Penticton city council meeting earlier this week.

Andrew McLaren, with Intergroup Consultants, told the councillors residential customers are presently likely under-paying for electricity and water while over-paying on sewer rates compared to the average cost. The city’s commercial and industrial customers, on the other hand, were likely over-paying for electricity and water while under-paying for sewer.

The consultant recommends targeting rates to equal the cost of service by 2020, with no rate decreases in any year for any of the city’s customers.

His report suggested an elimination of the city’s current rate setting policy in order to review rates as part of the annual budget process.

McLaren also recommended transitioning to monthly billing for water, sewer and electrical services.

The report will be presented to the public for review and comment on the city’s website next week. Following public review, staff will prepare a report to come back to council in December.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said he was "interested in hearing what the public has to say" about the recommendations.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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