Ponoka residents will see their bills for water and sewer go up as of Jan. 1, while electrical bills will also increase through a change in the town’s transmission rider. File photo

Ponoka residents to see rise in utility rates in 2019

Change to power transmission rider, sewer charges will see cost of living in Ponoka rise

What might be considered minor adjustments may well have a greater effect on residents when combined with a possible tax hike.

Ponoka town council approved a change to what it charges when it comes to electrical transmission at its meeting Nov. 27.

The adjustment comes to the transmission rider the town charges electricity producers for use of its distribution system. For the last three years, Ponoka has credited power companies due to the system’s revenue surplus. The changes are being made to maintain bill parity with customers in Ponoka County, who will be seeing increases in the new year.

“The transmission rider was implemented to refund customers and accumulated transmission revenue balances have been drawn down to support those refunds to the tune of $1.27 million since 2015,” explained corporate services director Sandra Lund.

“That money has now been fully refunded and that’s why the bylaw change is necessary.”

The transmission riders for residential plus small and medium commercial will go to zero — from 20 and 25 per cent credits respectively — while the large commercial category will rise to a 10 per cent credit from 40.

What that translates into is a jump in the monthly cost of electricity to be passed on to customers, ranging from about $5.30 per month for residential to a few hundred dollars for commercial users.

Lund noted the changes will mean an increase of about $354,000 in revenue for the utility.

More per flush

Council did pass two readings of a bylaw that may eventually see water and sewer utility rates rise in the new year. Council will vote on third reading on Dec. 11.

While the actual charge for water will stay the same at $2.69 per cubic metre, the amount town residents and businesses will pay is going up for both water and sewer services.

In council’s budget deliberations, a 3.3 per cent hike in the base charge for each service was approved — which translates into an overall rise of $1.29 per month for residential customers — while the sewage commodity charge will move to 60 cents per cubic metre, an increase of five cents over 2018.

“Increases are required to generate enough revenue for operations as well as for current and future capital projects,” Lund added.

Despite the new garbage/recycling contract savings, the town will not be lowering the monthly pickup charge of $26.


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