ENMAX and City alter procedure for addressing extraordinary water bills

CTV Calgary’s investigation into the inexplicably large water bills of several ENMAX customers has prompted the City of Calgary to review how the utility operator handles complaints.

A number of homeowners contacted Lea-Williams Doherty, CTV Calgary’s consumer watch reporter, after receiving massive ENMAX bills, with some 25 times larger than their average bill. According to the customers, ENMAX attributed the spike in water consumption to leaky toilets after the meters at several homes were inspected and deemed accurate. The homeowners were informed they would have to pay their bills.

On Wednesday, the City of Calgary and ENMAX issued a joint ‘Open Letter to Calgary’s Water Customers’ notifying Calgarians of a new procedure for water consumption investigations and billing adjustments. According to the letter, ENMAX will take a proactive approach to addressing wild swing in water usage that includes:

  • Customers who fix leaks in a reasonable amount of time (after being contacted by ENMAX) will no longer have to pay the extraordinarily large bill. They will be billed on their average use.
  • For those customers where the leak is more difficult to detect, The City and ENMAX will work with those customers to identify the problem. Once the problem is identified and fixed within a reasonable amount of time, the customers will be billed on their average use.

“A system where you won’t have to negotiate with ENMAX or with the City if you have this situation,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi on Wednesday afternoon. “If we figure out the problem and you fix the problem, you don’t have to pay the bill.”

The City of Calgary and ENMAX plan to have the City’s meter technology and ENMAX’s billing system review by independent third parties to ensure customers trust the accuracy of the water consumption depicted on their billing statements.

With files from CTV’s Lea Williams-Doherty

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