Sylvan Lake improving its monthly water billing

Sylvan Lake is streamlining water billing with new water meters and the hiring of a second full-time meter reader.

Currently, the town sends out bills based on the actual water use in one month, then based on the estimated useage the next.

READ MORE: Sylvan Lake woman frustrated with estimate vs actual water bill

Environmental services manager Kevin Gannon says estimating the billing every other month is a challenge, given the number of seasonal dwellings and rental properties in the community.

“Removing estimates allows our customers to better manage their water consumption and identify potential water loss earlier, therefore reducing water wastage and costs to both the customer and the town,” Gannon said.

With one meter reader employed by the town, it takes roughly two and a half weeks to get measurements from half the community.

The employee captures the readings for half the town one month, and the following month, works on the other half.

The town will hire a new meter reader for $100,000 per year.

Sylvan Lake town council has approved replacing 250 water meters, complete with software, in 2019 for $200,000.

Moving forward, 500 meters are planned to be replaced every year for the next five years, costing approximately $300,000 each year.

Gannon said the new meters make it easier to obtain readings, which can be done from a distance. This means employees will not be exposed to potentially dangerous weather, or potentially slip on icy sidewalks.

“… Once all the meters are replaced and are upgraded to continuous read system, the requirement for the meter reading will be reduced,” Gannon’s report says.

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