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Yellowknife looks at increasing some water and sewer rates

The City of Yellowknife's water treatment plant as seen from Tin Can Hill in May 2023. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
The City of Yellowknife's water treatment plant as seen from Tin Can Hill in May 2023. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

The City of Yellowknife says it may increase some sewer and water rates so they more closely match the actual cost of providing those services.

In a news release on Monday, the city said “at least 20 years” had passed since the rate structure was last fully reviewed.

According to the city, a report found that trucked water and sewer fees only cover 75 percent of the cost to the city. City Hall says the best practice would be to charge 90 to 110 percent of the cost.

The 190-page report, conducted by utility rate design consultants InterGroup and billed as only an interim version, recommends phasing in new rates over three years, beginning in January 2024.

“For average-use customers, this amounts to between $9 and $10 per month in 2024, 2025, and 2026. Once fully implemented, these trucked service customers will see their total bill increase by about $340 per year by 2026,” the city stated in its news release.



By contrast, some commercial and multi-residential users on piped water would receive rate decreases. Residential customers on piped water would not see any restructuring of their rates.

No decisions have yet been taken. The city says it is waiting for the consultants’ final report and is also asking residents for feedback, which can be provided via the PlaceSpeak website until July 4.

The city said the interim report’s recommendations are “based on a detailed cost-of-service model” and on generally accepted utility rate design elsewhere.

While the current water and sewer rates cover operational costs, some customers are paying more than their service costs while others are paying less.



It’s unclear how the city’s separate proposal to remove summer water lines from Old Town would affect potential changes in trucked-water costs for residents living in those areas. Removing the existing surface lines, used to connect Old Town homes to the mains supply over the summer, would mean residents need trucked water year-round, which may be about to get pricier. Cabin Radio has reached out to the city for clarification.

The interim report also suggests that the city simplify utility bills so they are easier to read and understand.

Residents’ feedback will be added to the final report for councillors to study before they make a decision.