The average PUC residential customer will pay more for water in 2013.
The PUC Board approved the utilities’ 2013 budget at its meeting Thursday.
The average residential customer will pay an extra $2.67 a month for water use, a 10 percent increase.
The increase takes effect January 1, 2013.
The PUC says water rates will keep increasing by 10 percent every year from 2013 to 2017.
After 2017, the PUC forecasts 5 percent increases annually.
Other highlights of the PUC budget report show capital expenditures for improvements and upgrades peaked at $7.85 million in 2009, when the City of Sault Ste. Marie, PUC Inc.’s sole shareholder, received infrastructure funding from senior levels of government.
Capital expenditures for improvements and upgrades will stand at $5.44 million in the 2013 budget.
PUC officials stated Thursday they hope to see capital expenditures reach the $10 million mark by 2018 in order to replace some municipal pipes that are up to 60 years old.
The budget statement for 2013 shows $16.2 million is expected to come in from PUC customers in 2013.
PUC President and CEO Brian Curran told the Board: “The increases are pretty much the same across Ontario. There’s no way of getting around it.”
Curran added: “There is no profit here (from the water rate increase). All the money goes back into the system.”
In other PUC business discussed Thursday, the Board and staff discussed the ongoing tap water situation in Sault Ste. Marie.
The PUC has carried out a conversion to free chlorine, leading to a host of public complaints about objectionable taste and smell of the water.
PUC Vice-President of Operations and Engineering Dominic Parrella told the Board the process of taming the taste and odour successfully continues, though he added: “We continue to respond to some specific calls around the city.”
Data from an IPSOS Reid telephone survey gathering opinions of the tap water from 1,000 Sault PUC customers conducted in November is now being analyzed, with the results of that survey to be released in February.
It was also announced that sale of the existing PUC office building at 765 Queen Street East seems near.
President and CEO Curran told the Board: “There are a number of interested buyers, and an offer will be made near the end of the month. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get a sale fairly quickly.”