The City of Charlottetown has fallen behind schedule in its efforts to get all customers hooked up to a water meter.
Of the 10,000 customers served by the Water and Sewer Utility, there are still 750 who haven’t called Bevan Bros. Ltd., the contractor, to set up an appointment to get a device installed.
“That was our hope, yes,’’ said Richard MacEwen, manager of the utility when asked if the city intended to have everyone on board by the end of 2017.
“We still have some customers who are, I would say, reluctant.”
MacEwen said the city has been in touch with those stragglers – either by phone, letter or a knock on the door.
The city is spending about $4 million on its water metering program. For those who haven’t been hooked up yet, there is no cost to have the meter installed.
“(Customers) are then in control of the consumption portion of their bill.’’
The utility manager added that the city is seeing great results with its water conservation program. In fact, he said levels haven’t been this low since 2000.
“We’re very pleased with it, so it’s about a 15 per cent reduction in our overall water consumption since the peak levels we saw when we started bringing these programs online.’’
"That’s the only reason I can think that they wouldn’t be coming on board with the program, that they’re fearful that their consumption levels may be high. And we really want to reassure them that that’s probably not going to be the case. They are in control of their own habits and, really, the goal of the program is to really have people think more about how they do use water.’’
To book an appointment to have a water meter installed for free, call Bevan Bros. at 902-368-3456.
Those customers not on a water meter yet are being hit with a $50 quarterly surcharge. That has brought in about $70,000 so far.
MacEwen believes some of the customers who haven’t been hooked up yet are under the impression that a meter will put their bill up.
“That’s my suspicion. That’s the only reason I can think that they wouldn’t be coming on board with the program, that they’re fearful that their consumption levels may be high. And we really want to reassure them that that’s probably not going to be the case. They are in control of their own habits and, really, the goal of the program is to really have people think more about how they do use water.’’
Prior to the water meter, the city charged a fixed rate based on what it thought the average family of four would use.
The city’s water conservation program and its leak detection program were conditions the province made when the city asked for permission to create a second source for water in Miltonvale. MacEwen said universal water metering is integral to both programs.
The utility manager said between the conservation program and the new water source, the city can now continue to grow in size.
Speaking of the new water source, MacEwen said the city expects to be pumping water from it within the next month.