In the winter of 2015, the new CEO of Chestermere Utilities Incorporated (CUI) discovered an oversight in the way utility rates were being calculated and the company was facing a significant shortfall because the rates were not covering the actual costs to provide utility services.
In January, CUI brought forward a request to City Council to increase rates by 25% (approximately $30/month per household) to cover the current cost of services provided to Chestermere.
Council met at a special meeting, on February 18, 2016, and decided not to grant the 25% increase in rates as CUI requested but did approve a 15% increase on water and sewer and 25% on solid waste and storm water. This decision was made after extensive review and consultation as recommended by an independent third party regulatory utility consultant who reviewed CUI’s request.
Following the decision, Mayor Patricia Matthews explained, “Our decision to change the request for the rate increase took into account the impact on the residents of Chestermere and the recommendations from the third party consultant. This decision will assist CUI in covering the cost of providing services. We have also asked CUI to take additional measures to cut costs and improve efficiencies in order to make up any additional shortfall.”
In addition, Council will continue to provide increased scrutiny of the utility company in the form of quarterly financial reports (which will be made public), and regular updates to Council. Council has also communicated to CUI that they will need to find alternative ways to cover past shortfalls without rate increases.
In the coming months, Council will adopt a rigorous regulatory process, and will also evaluate the viability of CUI as a whole.
Updates and information will continue to be posted at www.chestermere.ca/cui.