Council will be looking over Penticton's utility rate increases recommended for 2024 on Tuesday, after staff completed the engagement program.
Kristen Dixon, the city’s interim chief administrative officer, said in a news release that the job of the rate review was to determine the funds needed to operate city utilities and maintain them into the future.
“The results show that like everyone, the City is feeling the impact of inflation on the costs of goods and services when it comes to maintaining our infrastructure. The proposed rates are designed to get the utilities back on track to being self-funded and provide for future maintenance and replacement of over $800 million in assets.”
The proposed increases for next year are:
- 3 per cent for electrical
- 6.4 per cent for treated water, including the adoption of the inclining rate structure for three-quarter inch residential customers
- 6.1 per cent for agricultural water
- 10.2 per cent for sanitary water
- 30 per cent for storm sewer
The final step in the completion of the review was an engagement program that invited residents to learn more about the changes being proposed and to share their feedback.
Staff said there was general support for the recommendations in the draft report, including the adoption of the inclining block rate structure for treated water, and updating the City’s policies relating to reserves and the electrical dividend.
Where there was no support, the city said it generally stemmed from concerns relating to affordability and the overall ability to pay.
“In an effort to temper the impact of increases for ratepayers, staff are proposing increasing electrical rates by eight per cent annually for the next four years rather than the 10 per cent recommended for 2024, followed by subsequent seven per cent annual increases,” Dixon said.
“Assuming the interim five per cent increase is adopted on Oct. 3, this would result in a further three per cent increase for 2024 for the electric utility, as opposed to another five per cent.”
The upcoming report to council is focused on the review's recommendations for utility rates that are required to prepare the 2024 – 2028 Financial Plan and specifically the 2024 budget.
If approved, staff will prepare the bylaws to set the rates for 2024. The remaining recommendations from the review will be brought forward for council consideration at future meetings. Complete engagement results are available as part of the agenda package and online at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca