In 2016, town council approved an average increase of 53 per cent to the water and sewer rates. About 900 addresses within town limits — homes that are required to be connected to the municipal water system — were hit by the rate surge. The increase was an unpopular move. In Bancroft, incomes average $33,460, which is about 30 per cent lower than the provincial average of $47,915.
EPCOR needs money to lower the lead levels in Edmonton’s drinking water – a cost that may wind up on residents water bills. Although officials from EPCOR and the city said the drinking water is safe, levels must be reduced to meet new federal regulations. Earlier this month Health Canada cut acceptable lead levels in half, from 10 micrograms per litre to five.
City administrators have developed a pilot project to help the poorest Calgarians with their water bills. But a city council committee has plenty of questions and defeated the proposal, at least for now. According to the city, 2,300 people who are more than 90 days in arrears on their bills currently owe the city nearly $1 million.