Recently Chestermere Utilities Inc. (CUI) hired a CEO, Ms. Leigh-Anne Palter, who, while performing her due diligence as a new leader and reviewing company management practices, identified an oversight in how rates were being calculated. A thorough review of CUI’s financial processes and practises was conducted, and regrettably, it’s been discovered that the cost of the services being provided by the Utility are not fully covered by the rates charged to customers.
As the regulatory body of CUI, we are shocked and dismayed by this discovery as we believed all costs were being fully recovered. We wanted to alert you as soon as possible because transparency remains a priority for us in our communications with you. We are sorry to tell you that increased utility rates are coming and will impact all of us.
As the regulator, Council and I want to truly apologize that we didn’t recognize this discrepancy sooner. It is anticipated that CUI’s rate increase to be approximately $30 per month based on an average residential customer, impacting both consumption and flat charges.
Council will be reviewing the Utility’s request with the help of an independent third party to ensure the rate setting methodology used is sound and the rate will be correct going forward. CUI’s final request will be brought before Council on January 18th at 6 pm. but rates will not increase until approved by Council. All Council meetings are public and you are welcome to attend.
Council is confident that CUI is taking action to address the immediate challenges the Utility faces and that the evaluation by Ms. Palter is thorough. We trust that her presentation in January will provide us all with the whole picture of this issue.
We know that this is unwelcome news and we are focused on doing everything we can to understand how this happened and ensure it does not happen again. This includes changing our practices, conducting independent reviews and increasing regulatory oversight. Changes have now been made to the Board and we are looking for new board members from our community with specific skill sets to fully support CUI.
We recognize that this is disheartening news and that many families may find this to be an added challenge in an already difficult economic situation. We will continue to keep you informed.
Mayor Matthews & Council