On Thursday, August 27, 2020, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) approved Halifax Water’s recommendation that there be no increase in water rates for fiscal 2020/21 and 2021/22; and no increase in overall wastewater rates in 2020/21. An increase to wastewater treatment/usage charges is approved to take effect April 1, 2021.
Halifax Water General Manager Cathie O’Toole said, “Halifax Water’s initial request to increase rates was filed prior to the pandemic. Recognizing many customers were concerned about the future and their ability to pay bills, a longer-term strategy was developed that allowed Halifax Water to reduce its requested rate increases, while continuing to maintain high quality, reliable and affordable service”.
To further assist customers, Halifax Water also withdrew some planned increases to miscellaneous fees and charges and introduced some temporary customer assistance programs.
The NSUARB also approved Halifax Water’s enhanced lead service line replacement program that will help eliminate public and private lead service lines by 2039. Learn more about this program here.
Cathie O’Toole also noted that “the Decision also provides some important guidance from the NSUARB that will shape our future activities. We wish to thank all members of the public, stakeholders, and intervenors that participated in the public hearing process.”
No Increase in Residential Rates 2020/21
As COVID-19 impacts our customers and the global economy, Halifax Water continues to support customers with no residential rate increases in 2020/21.
There will be no increase in water rates in 2020/21 or 2021/22.
There will be no increase in wastewater rates in 2020/21, with an increase in the wastewater treatment charge effective April 1, 2021.
|Water Consumption Charge||Water Service Base Charge||Wastewater Treatment Charge||Wastewater Service Base Charge|
|Existing Rate||$0.976 / 1000 litres||$39.00 / quarter ($13.00 / month)||$1.753 / 1000 litres||$42.00 / quarter ($14.00 / month)|
|Rate Effective Sept. 1, 2020||No Change||No Change||No Change||No Change|
|Rate Effective April 1, 2021||No Change||No Change||$2.073 / 1000 litres||No Change|
Why was a rate increase proposed?
Costs have increased over the last four years, since the last increase, and we need to spend more to maintain infrastructure. We need to spend more to ensure regulatory compliance, protect the environment and public health; adapt to climate change and mitigate its impacts; and ensure the utility continues to meet customer expectations.
The total length of water, wastewater, and stormwater pipe owned and maintained by Halifax Water is over 3850 KM. If connected end-to-end, it would reach from our main office at 450 Cowie Hill Road, Halifax, via the Trans-Canada Highway to the border between Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
As you can see on this map, large sections of our infrastructure are ageing, and will need to be replaced. Over 30 years (2019-2049), it is estimated Halifax Water will need to invest approximately $4 billion to renew assets, support growth across the municipality, and maintain compliance with all required regulations, all while adapting to climate change and mitigating its impacts.
The Capital Budget (infrastructure improvements) for the fiscal year April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021 alone is $96.5 million and includes projects for water, wastewater and stormwater. Continuous investment in our infrastructure is critical to the short and long term economic and environmental sustainability of our region, and to public health.
When was the last rate change for these services?
The last water and wastewater rate increase was April 1, 2016.
How does the rate application process work?
The Halifax Water Board, whose meetings are open to the public and live-streamed, first approves a proposed rate increase. A rate application is then submitted by Halifax Water to the NSUARB. Any change in rates and regulations has to be approved by the NSUARB.
Is there a program available for those who may need financial assistance?
In 2011, Halifax Water established the H2O (Help to Others) Fund, a third-party fund managed through the Salvation Army. The H2O Fund assists customers with outstanding Halifax Water bills. Since the launch of the program, over 950 customers have been helped. Details on the H2O (Help to Others) Fund can be found here on halifaxwater.ca or at https://salvationarmy.ca/maritime/home/programs/h2o/.
Halifax Water by the Numbers
Halifax Water owns, operates, and maintains the following infrastructure to provide water, wastewater, and stormwater services to our customers and our environment:
Last year, Halifax Water:
Had 500 employees working hard to serve customers.
Halifax Water had 105,000 customer accounts, and served an estimated population of 376,000 people on a regular basis, plus countless visitors
in this region.
This information is out of date and does not represent the updated rate application.
Water Talk is an informative newsletter being distributed in Halifax Water bills over the Winter/Spring billing period for all customers who receive water and/or wastewater services from Halifax Water.