WHEREAS the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) regulates fees, charges and rates for potable water services in the province; and
WHEREAS fees, charges and rates associated with wastewater are not regulated by the AUC and are often raised to compensate for the regulations placed on potable water fees;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta advocate to the Alberta Utilities Commission to regulate fees, charges and rates associated with wastewater to correspond with the water consumption fee schedules.
Fees that may be charged by a company for water consumption in Alberta are regulated by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) and outline the company’s Water System Tariff terms and agreement. A company may apply for increases to the approved fee schedules, however those applications may or may not be approved and typically involve public notice, review and consultation processes.
Wastewater fees are not subject to the same processes and restrictions as the fees for potable water and are not regulated by the AUC. As such, a company can increase the fees, charges and rates for wastewater services to compensate for the lower potable water charges without appropriate regulatory oversight. When a wastewater utility is provided by a municipality, rates and fees are kept in check by elected officials who have a responsibility to their constituents. In the case of private utility operators, this oversight does not exist to the same extent.
Residents within the Hamlet of Heritage Pointe in Foothills County have reported that fees charged by a private utility operator for potable water have not increased since 2014, however their wastewater fees have increased 100% over the same time period. Their current potable water flat rate is $54.88 and they are paying a flat rate of $88.33 for wastewater services.
Foothills County and the residents of Heritage Pointe believe that oversight of the fees, charges and rates associated with both water and wastewater services should be regulated by the AUC in the same manner as potable water services in order to provide ratepayers with equitable utility costs and prevent wastewater rates from being overcharged to compensate for water utility rates and padded profit margins.
RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.