News / Calgary

Council calls for deeper look into water utility issues

Water resources says unusually high consumption is flagged by system

Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart said warnings

Elizabeth Cameron / Calgary Freelance

Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart said warnings

A motion from Calgary City Council reinforced what the mayor already said was being done to help residents with unusually high water bills.

The motion, brought forward by Ward 13 Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart, called for a laundry list of tweaks and changes to how the city deals with customers when providing water.

Directions to administration included doing a detailed analysis on billing irregularities, coming up with pre-emptive alerts for high consumption, exploring the possibility of free city inspections for those with high water consumption, and an appeals mechanism.

“This was somewhat tarnishing on the reputation of Enmax,” said Colley-Urquhart.

“Really it’s the city of Calgary and water services, and our billing practices that are responsible, and we’re the oversight to that.”

She said she had complaints dating back several months, and she knew most other councillors had received them as well.

Rob Spackman, director of water resources, told council that his department is admitting to mistakes that were made.

“We’re quite proud of the service we provide every day, and that extends to the bill that our customers receive,” said Spackman. “We don’t want our customers to receive a bill they weren’t expecting.”

When asked by Coun. Joe Magliocca if there was some way to alert customers of an impending high bill, Spackman said that process is already in place.

“If there’s a high consumption on an account, the customer service rep will contact the customers before the bill goes out,” he said, adding that the process has been in place since April of last year.

Colley-Urquhart questioned that answer.

“You say there’s a protocol to flag people – these people weren’t called,” she said.

All of Colley-Urquhart’s recommendations were adopted by council.

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