Halifax Water requests rate increase for customers starting in September

Halifax Water says it has applied to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) to increase its rates for water and wastewater services due to rising costs and other challenges.

“The utility faces the same pressures as other businesses with increasing costs for electricity, fuel, chemicals and wages,” Cathie O’Toole, Halifax Water general manager, said in a statement released on Thursday.

“[There are also] increasing costs to implement essential capital programs and increasing customer expectations regarding services.”

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If the request is approved by NSUARB, Halifax Water says the average residential customer receiving water and wastewater services will see their rates rise by $11.04 per quarter or $3.68 per month, effective Sept. 1.

Then, on April 1, 2021, rates would increase again by $11.73 per quarter or $3.91 per month.

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“On an annual basis, these proposed charges would increase residential rates by 5.8 per cent in 2020-21 and 5.8 per cent in 2021-22,” the utility stated.

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Stormwater charges are not included in the total rate increase.

According to Halifax Water, the costs to maintain critical infrastructure have increased since the last rate change in April 2016.

Halifax Water board chair Craig MacMullin said that since the last rate increase, Halifax Water has invested $225 million in water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

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“Over 30 years (2019-2049), it is estimated the utility will need to invest approximately $4 billion,” said MacMullin.

Halifax Water said the utility “needs to continue to make significant investments to adapt to climate change and mitigate its impacts, ensure regulatory compliance, protect the environment and public health, and ensure the utility continues to meet customer expectations.”

The utility said a public hearing before the NSUARB is tentatively scheduled for the week of June 1.

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