Utility & Waste Management Fee changes 

What are they and what does it mean? 

There are some changes to the Utility & Waste Management Services (UWMS) fees coming in 2024. The biggest change is the removal of consumption-based tiers. Instead, the new charges, whether variable or fixed, are designed to more accurately match how you use water and wastewater services. 

In 2023, Sturgeon County hired a consultant to check the County’s UWMS assets and the cost of services.Regularly conducting rate studies and updating our fee schedule demonstrates the County’s efforts towards operational excellence and providing a high level of service at a fair price.   

The review found that overall, the County’s assets are in good shape and recommended a slight adjustment in rates. 

What change will I see? 

Most residential customers’ fixed charges will decrease to $20.32 from $24.75. Under the new structure, customers are charged a fixed rate based on their meter size. Most residential customers will fall in the under one-inch meter size.   

Residential customers will also see a decrease in their variable water charges. The County has removed consumption tiers. Now, all residential customers will pay the same rate per unit of water used. Previously, customers paid $3.43 per unit when they used less than 30 cubic metres per month and $4.20 per unit for any water use past that threshold. This will decrease to $3.00 per unit of water used.     

Residential wastewater variable rates are also changing. All residential customers will be charged $2.84 per cubic metre; this is only a slight adjustment from the current variable rates, which are $2.57 for low pressure customers and $2.74 for gravity customers.    

Fixed wastewater rates are increasing. Most residential customers’ wastewater fixed rates will increase from $28.50 to $31.66.   

Frequently Asked Questions
What does this mean to the average residential property owner?  

The average residential utility customer will save nearly $200 per year.   

What did the cost-of-service study find? 

It determined that our revenue requirements will likely decrease slightly compared to previous years due to a 25-year asset condition assessment that deemed our assets in good condition and our reserves funding is adequate.  

Does the County make money from utilities? 

The County’s utility is managed similarly as a not-for-profit organization, where revenue collected is designed to be full cost recovery. Any profits are transferred into a reserve fund used to offset or stabilize rates in the future.   

What is a fixed rate? 

A fixed utility rate is like a steady fee you pay regularly, no matter how much water you use. It helps the County cover basic costs, like maintaining pipes and equipment. 

What does the fixed rate on my utility bill pay for?  

Portions of the fixed rate on your utility bill are used to fund the cost of replacing meters and pipes in the ground, water hydrants for emergency and fire services and customer service for billing and administration. A portion of the fixed rate also goes into savings to pay for any major repairs or upgrades needed in our water and wastewater system.  

What is a variable rate? 

Variable charges (or rate) cover purchased water and wastewater treatment costs and a portion of the County’s operating and capital costs.  

What does the variable rate on my utility bill pay for?  

The variable rate is the amount of water that you use. The amount of water you use is also used to calculate the amount of wastewater created. You may notice the amounts are not equal. The wastewater is lower as we recognize that some water is consumed and not carried away as waste.   

Where does our water come from? 

We supply more than 2,600 customers with water and wastewater services every day. Our water comes from EPCOR in the City of Edmonton from either the Rossdale Water Treatment Plant or EL Smith Water Treatment Plant. Sturgeon County pays for this water. 

There are three waterlines that supply the County. Sturgeon Valley is supplied directly from EPCOR from the Castledowns Reservoir. Customers west of Highway 2 are serviced from the Morinville Waterline that supplies the town with water. Customers located in the east side of the County are serviced from the Capital Region Northeast Water Services Commission.  

In addition, the County manages six bulk water services across the county. This is the primary water source for more than 6,000 households and many businesses. 

What size is the meter on my property, and why does it matter? 

Residential meters are 5/8” or ¾” meters. Our new billing changes help determine our customer classes by meter size and volume of water need to service a property. The water meter size is based on the expected water usage of the entire property or building. Properties with higher water demands, such as commercial or industrial, require larger meters to accommodate their flow rates.  

What type of meter do I have? 

Water meters provided to customers are supplied by the Neptune Technology Group. One benefit of this meter is its 90-day download capability which provides greater water consumption information to help troubleshoot a source of water loss on your bill.  

I think my meter isn’t accurate, how can I have it checked? 

If you think your meter isn’t providing accurate readings, keep an eye on it. If it is continuously registering flow or spinning, this might indicate that you have a leak. If you need assistance, please contact Utility & Waste Management Services at 780-939-8254. 

What new investments is the County making in utility services to benefit the community?  

In 2024, Sturgeon County is investing over $3.1 million to improve utility infrastructure, including $1.6 million for water and $1.5 million for wastewater services.  These projects are part of the County’s ongoing replace, repair, and maintain program that ensures County infrastructure will meet the needs of the community. 

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