Sylvan Lake woman frustrated with estimate vs actual water bill

Suella Brown recently discovered Town utility bills use estimated costs every other month

“I am drowning in my water bill,” says Sylvan Lake resident Suella Brown.

As a single parent, she says the fluctuating cost on her monthly bill has gotten out of hand, especially after finding out every other month’s bill is an estimate.

“Every other month it can be up or down from the actual… when it is up it goes up $30. Do you know what I could do with $30? I could buy groceries or put gas in my car,” she said.

Brown says the cost of living in Sylvan Lake has “gotten out of control” and believes the Town should be considering its residents before raising costs of taxes and utilities.

“They have no consideration for those of us who are starving. I just feel like they don’t care,” Brown said.

“They keep going when we are just trying to stay afloat.”

READ MORE: Rate increase proposed for wastewater collection and water flat rate

2018 Budget surplus gives Sylvan Lake residents lowers proposed taxes

According to Brown, the Town needs to stop spending money on frivolous items while residents continue to struggle with the economic downturn.

She says items like the fireworks on Family Day and flooding the outdoor rinks are luxuries everyone can do without.

She loves all the town has to offer, but believes it is too costly to residents during trying times.

“They just want to spend… They are taking the joy out of living here,” Brown said.

Brown has taken her concerns to the Town, but feels like they don’t try to help her.

Instead, she says the only answer she ever receives is, “This is just how we do things.”

“Every time I complain nothing happens.”

Joanne Gaudet, communications coordinator with the Town of Sylvan Lake, says estimate versus actual billing has been used since the utility billing switched over the monthly in 2018.

Not only has it been in place for over a year, but it a common practise in other municipalities as well.

“It’s actually standard to do actual versus estimate billing,” Gaudet said. “It is new for us… but it is pretty common in other municipalities and for other utilities like gas and energy.”

If the estimated month is different from the actual, the difference is made up on the next month’s bill, according to Gaudet.

Generally speaking, the estimates are close to what the actual really is, according to Gaudet.

The Town chose to do the estimate versus actual billing system as a cost saving measure. To have an actual cost on the bill each month would mean hiring another metre reader.

Gaudet says this practice saves the Town upwards of $100,000 a year.

If residents have concerns about their billing, Gaudet advises to contact the Town directly.

“We can’t help if we don’t know the problem. Call us, email or come into the office, don’t just use Facebook, and we will sit down with you and explain the bill and work with you,” Gaudet said.

She says all residents should be aware of their water usages and how that can affect the bill each month.

Having someone come to visit for a few days can add a surprising amount to ones water bill.

“We are trying to raise awareness about the billing, and helping residents to be cognizant of their water usage,” Gaudet said.

Town employees will be available at the Home and Lifestyle Show on May 11 to talk to residents about this subject.

More information about the billing process and water conservation tips can be found at www.sylvanlake.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake mom says transition to at-home learning going well

Melissa Hicks’ sons, Jackson and Parker, are students at École Our Lady of the Rosary School

96 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Alberta

Thirteen people have now died in Alberta as a result of COVID-19

Titans challenge Bucs to a ‘Bleed Off’

Which club will bleed more for the community?

Sylvan Lake plumbers ask for social distancing while working in homes

Fonda’s Plumbing and Heating says they went out to six service calls in one day during the outbreak

Town of Sylvan Lake temporally lays off 64 employees during COVID-19 pandemic

The Town has enacted a temporary 60-day layoff process for 64 employees

A message from the publisher

Consider a voluntary subscription to Sylvan Lake News

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

WATCH: Update from Prime Minister Trudeau

April 3 briefing from Ottawa

WATCH: Update from Prime Minister Trudeau

April 3 briefing from Ottawa

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

Europe’s hospitals buckle under the crush of the coronavirus

Spanish hospital turns library into makeshift intensive care unit

Ontario’s move puts pressure on feds to reveal national COVID-19 projections

Feds hope national projections will be available soon

Most Read