A Cloverdale man was unhappy with his 2022 City of Surrey utility bill and contacted the Cloverdale Reporter.
Clayton Heights resident Wayne Hardy said, “Last year I paid $406 and this year I have to pay $719. That’s a 77 per cent increase.”
Last year Hardy was given a $275 credit from the City of Surrey. Hardy chatted to several others in his complex and found their bills were all nearly the same: several had an approximate $275 bill credit for at least two years previous.
The Reporter contacted the City of Surrey and was told sewer and water rates did go up, but nowhere near 77 per cent.
In a statement to the Reporter, a representative from the City of Surrey - Finance said, “In Surrey, sewer and water rates for multi-family properties increased by 5.58 per cent from 2021 to 2022. These rates are charged to applicable properties throughout the city and not a specific area.”
The city said annual utility billing rates for “Strata Multi Family” went up for water and sewer by 3.16 per cent and 8.64 per cent, respectively, which works out to an average utilities increase of 5.58 per cent. The water rate in 2021 was $380 and went up by $12 to $392 for this year, while the sewer rate in 2021 was $301 and when up by $26 to $327 this year.
According to the City of Surrey’s website, water-rate increases are tied to the rising costs of buying water.
”Flat rate increases are based on the cost to purchase water from Metro Vancouver Regional District,” according to surrey.ca. “The increases are to pay for the rising cost of treating water.”
In another statement to the Reporter, a representative from the City of Surrey - Finance commented on Hardy’s bill increase.
”This resident’s 2021 Annual Utility Bill showed annual sewer and annual water charges of $681,” the statement read. “The 2021 bill also showed a credit transfer from his tax account as a result of overpayment in 2020 which was applied to the utility bill in the amount of $275, resulting in the amount due for 2021 being $406. The 2022 annual sewer and water charges of $719 are an increase from $681 in 2021.”
Hardy told the Reporter he was 100 per cent sure his bill was always around $400 in previous years. However, when checking the bills, he admitted they were not that low and were only roughly five per cent less going back each subsequent year.
Hardy said he overreacted and blamed City Hall.
“The city called me and it’s my fault,” he said. “I talked to Sally in the finance department and she was great. She worked it through with me. It was my error.”
*Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original version. This version adds comment from the City of Surrey and an explanation of water and sewer charges and the bill credit and further comment from Hardy.