Halifax Water rates are going up twice in the next six months after the provincial regulator approved the utility’s application.
The Utility and Review Board (UARB) approved Halifax Water’s rate application in a decision released on Monday. The board found the utility provided a “reasonable explanation” for the increase.
“Based on this decision, it is estimated that rates for the average residential family will increase by approximately 3.6 per cent in December 2022 and 3.6 per cent in April 2023,” Halifax Water said in a news release.
Haligonians currently pay $0.976 per 1000 litres of water. As of Dec. 1, they’ll pay $1.017 and as of April 1, 2023, $1.128. For wastewater, the rate is $2.073, rising to $2.189 and then $2.259.
The utility previously said the increases represent $2.51 per month for the average home with the first increase and another $2.60 per month with the second. Stormwater rates, which are tiered based on a property’s impervious surface area, will also rise. That hike is between $2 and $15 annually this year with an additional amount between $3 and $19 next year.
“Halifax Water’s request was driven by increased operating and capital costs resulting from aging infrastructure, ongoing environmental compliance, and growth within the municipality,” the utility said in its news release. “This will be the first increase in water rates since 2016 and the first increase in stormwater rates since 2017.”
Halifax Water originally applied for a larger increase in 2020, seeking approval for 5.8% hikes, but backed off when COVID-19 hit.
Maybe it’s time that the Halifax Water board meetings are open to the public and their meeting minutes and finances publicly available. There’s no public oversight other than a councillor or two, and yet HW was separated from the municipality as a stand-alone organization precisely because councillors didn’t want to deal with it.
Video and minutes from those meetings are available here: https://halifaxwater.ca/board-commissioners