MEDICINE HAT, AB - The City of Medicine Hat is offering discounts to residents for continuously running their taps to prevent frozen pipes.
Any customer who has been running the tap for at least two weeks will get a break on their utility bill.
The City's Brian Murphy says the reduction applies to both residential homes and businesses.
"If you've been running a cold-water tap continuously and our metering data confirms that, then we'll discount your water bill back to that seven cubic meters per month. Any usage above that will be free of charge. Most people already use more than that in a month."
Due to their complex usage, businesses will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Murphy says the discounts will depend on each customers usage, but it could be anywhere from $10-$20.
"We have a simple, online form that asks for your name, address, and water meter number. We'll use the water metering system to confirm that you have used the tap for at least two weeks and then we'll discount your utility bill if that's the case."
Over the past month, Murphy says they have received over 300 calls for frozen services. The queue is now down to about 100 residents.
"We've got every resource possible responding to this. It's taking a number of days to get through that queue and backlog. That's why running a tap is so much better than ending up on our list."
Murphy says crews are working diligently to get the issue resolved.
"We're ramping up our response and we want to get peoples water restored. It's such an inconvenience and a shock to end up without water. That's why we encourage this step and the discount."
For the time being, Murphy says people should continue to run their taps until they are directed otherwise.
"The only way to know that we're past the risk, is we'll go through a series of days without calls and that's not the case yet. We still have calls coming in every day."
The issues with frozen services are in no specified area of town.
"There's no way to guarantee what homes or businesses will be impacted, which is why we're opening this message up to residents across the city. This is the best way to ensure that we won't have to come and un-thaw your services."
For those wanting to apply for the discount, an online application can be found here.
For those without internet, they can head to City Hall for an application form.
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