Mock bills reveal water consumption

The first of three rounds of residential mock bills were issued just before Christmas in Armstrong

A sprinkling of results from newly installed water meters has given the City of Armstrong a brief glimpse into water consumption.

The first of three rounds of residential mock bills were issued just before Christmas, with the usage covering the approximate period of April 1 to Sept. 30.

“In the fall, Corix Utilities read the water meters as part of their validation process,” explained city chief financial officer Terry Martens. “Of the 1,800 residential water meters installed, approximately 1,650 readings were received.”

The remaining 150 meters were read but Martens said the results were subject to data issues due to the equipment used by Corix.

Until all of the readings are received, the average usage from a city-wide perspective is not yet available.

The city did get a look at one neighbourhood’s results.

“The average for one particular neighbourhood of 41 homes was calculated to be 273 cubic meters,” said Martens, which equates to a bill of $134.53 for the six-month period. He pointed out that particular neighbourhood consisted of “large homes and large families.”

Coun. Ron (Sully) O’Sullivan said he thinks something is going wrong.

“The mock bill is $134 for six months, so we’re looking at over $200 for water,” said O’Sullivan. “I could have swore we said bills wouldn’t go up but it’s obvious that it is.”

Martens reiterated it’s hard to know if those results are indicative of the city as a whole until all the readings are in.

City administrator Melinda Stickney said the idea of the mock billing over three readings is to give residents a chance to see what their water consumption actually is.

“That will give them time to make any changes and raise awareness,” she said.

An explanatory letter was included with the mock bills, and Martens said response from the public was “minor, with minimal calls received.”

Some meters are believed to have been installed backwards by the company and those are being dealt with, said Martens.

All of the installed meters are brand new and have a 20-year life expectancy.

The next readings are scheduled to take place during April.