No need to pay $12 million
Epcor has applied to increase our water rates from an average of about $250 per year to $450 per year by 2017 – an 80 per cent increase.
In the last mailing from Epcor, they say the increase will be “just over $4 per month,” as it sounds much better, I suppose, than the 20 per cent per year for four years.
The $12-million project application was instigated by Fraser Health’s requirement that Epcor chlorinate our water, yet that component of the project is only about $3 million. The other $9 million is for capital improvements not required, but to bring Epcor’s buildings up to today’s building code.
Epcor only paid $9.5 million for White Rock Water and now wants us to double the value of their investment. Most residents of White Rock live in homes that are not up to today’s building code, so where do we apply to have someone else pay for our upgrades?
$700,000 of the application is for interest expense on the cash for the project, yet their most recently posted financial statement, for three months ending Sept. 30, 2012, shows their water segment made $23 million net income and generated about $70 million in cash – so why are they asking us to pay interest to use our cash?
I prefer to stay with our clean well water, but Epcor’s own analysis shows Surrey residents using metered water across the street will be paying about 28 per cent less.
One more reason to join Surrey? Or let’s just approve what is required by Fraser Health for less than $3 million, and our rates will stay comparable.
The good news is that although only 13 residents registered as intervenors, any “interested party” can submit comments prior to March 1. Please, voice your opinion.
M. Armstrong, White Rock