2018 utility rate increases less than anticipated

By Leah Murray
December 4, 2017 - 10:13pm Updated: December 5, 2017 - 6:49pm


MEDICINE HAT – City council has approved a number of updates to the 2018 operating budgets for the utilities division.

There are some increases coming to utility bills for residents, but the cost is less than previously budgeted.

According to documents prepared by city staff, the average utility customer in Medicine Hat will see $12.83 increase to their monthly utility bills in 2018.

The original budget had estimated the changes would average $15.90/month, which would have been $3.07/month higher.

Water sewer and solid waste account for the biggest increase.

Water: up $1.55/month
Sewer: up $3.35/month
Solid waste: up $0.42/month

Water was down from original estimates, while costs for sewer and waste were both up.

The city says those rates were pushed up due to customer volumes and expected expenditures in sewer projects and upgrades.

Electricity charges will be going up. Residents can expect an extra $5.30/month tacked on to their bills. That is around $1.25 lower than originally budgeted, as the city said it deferred some capital expenditures for the electric utility.

Gas will cost an additional $2.21/month on average, a decrease of $0.31 from the budget, again due to deferred projects.

The city estimates the average residential utility bill will be $182.58/month in 2018. Compared to average utility bills in other Cities, (from 2017) including Lethbridge, Red Deer, Calgary and Edmonton, the city expects it will maintain the lowest average utility bills in the province.

The increased costs will go towards maintaining and upgrading aging infrastructure in the city, with a focus on sewer upgrades.

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