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Utility Rate Review ready to get back on track

Review of Penticton’s utility charges interrupted by floods and fires
After being delayed by floods and fires, Penticton’s utility rate review committee is getting ready to back to examining what the community pays for water, electricity and other utilities. File photo

Mitch Moroziuk says he’s hoping to get the utility rate review back underway soon.

“We have finished with all our fire and flood stuff, so we can turn our attention to that,” said Moroziuk, Penticton’s general manager of infrastructure. “I’m actually getting ready to sit back down with the committee in January.”

The review was expected to run from January to July, with a committee looking into developing a sustainable rate structure, examining charges for electricity, sanitary sewer and both treated and agricultural irrigation water.

Moroziuk said that when the committee is through with the next round of work, they’ll be going out to the public once more. But even with the process interrupted this summer as the city had to focus on first flooding, then fire, some changes were made, like extending the irrigation period by a month.

“The reason for that is so many people are still watering their lawn in October. We expanded that to capture that so they weren’t overly being penalized, because they were paying more money,” said Moroziuk, adding that arose from feedback they received during the public during the first part of the rate review.

“That also means you’ve got to recover that lost revenue somewhere, so there is an adjustment to rates to do that,” said Moroziuk. That change was amended into the fees and charges bylaw earlier this year for 2019.

“On the sanitary sewer side, we know we are going to have to be looking at increased rates,” said Moroziuk. “We know we need to do that, our reserves are a little bit low, but we are still pushing our way through the utility rate review.”

Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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