Halifax Water backtracks on request for rate increase in September

Click to play video: 'HRCE won’t be testing for lead in water until the spring'
HRCE won’t be testing for lead in water until the spring
The Halifax Regional Centre for Education says it won't be testing the water at more than 100 schools until next spring. Elizabeth McSheffrey reports. – Nov 25, 2019

Halifax Water is reversing course on its February request to increase its rates for water and wastewater services.

In a news release Monday, the utility said it has recommended to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) that there be no increase in water rates for the next two years.

“In addition, the utility is recommending no increase in overall wastewater rates in 202/21 and an increase to wastewater treatment/usage charges effective April 1, 2021,” the utility said.

“The current application does not address stormwater, and no adjustments are currently planned for stormwater rates in 2020/21.”

READ MORE: Halifax Water requests rate increase for customers starting in September

On Feb. 14, Halifax Water announced it applied for the increase due to increasing costs to implement essential capital programs and “increasing customer expectations regarding services.”

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But the utility now says since the pandemic, a longer-term strategy was developed that allows Halifax Water to revise its requested rate increases.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented period of financial uncertainty for many of our customers,” said Halifax Water general manager Cathie O’Toole in a statement. “We have an obligation to continue providing services, but also have a responsibility to consider other factors like affordability, and impact on the local economy.”

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Halifax Water says it is also withdrawing some planned increases to miscellaneous fees and charges and is recommending the current temporary customer assistance measures in place be extended to Aug. 31:

  • Customers may defer payments on accounts from March 13th.
  • No interest will be charged on overdue accounts from March 13th.
  • Halifax Water fees for dishonoured payments will be waived from March 13th.
  • Disconnection for non-payment of service is suspended.
  • Customers facing economic impacts due to the COVID-19 situation that will cause them to struggle with paying their accounts are asked to contact Halifax Water’s Customer Care Centre at or 902-420-9287 to discuss payment arrangements.

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