Frequently Asked Questions
Is my complex eligible for a water meter?
Multi-family homes, including townhouses and apartments, may collectively volunteer for a meter through their property management group. If your strata is interested, contact 604-276-4179 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Where will my water meter be installed?
Each multi-family complex and property is unique. The City will conduct a site assessment to determine the most economical and efficient method and location for installation. Possible locations include mechanical rooms and underground near the property line.
Does it cost me anything to have a water meter installed?
Complexes receive $100,000 or $1,200 per unit (whichever is greater) towards the installation of the water meter and the strata pays the balance.
I want to volunteer for a water meter - what do I do now?
The first step is to propose the idea to your Strata Council. The implementation process for the program is as follows:
- Strata Council contacts City to initiate the process
- City conducts site assessment and provides cost estimate
- Strata Council resolution, strata provides City with letter requesting City to proceed with installation.
- City installs meter and switches billing.
What is the two-year guarantee?
The City of Richmond is allowing water meter volunteers a two-year ‘cap’ to help people adjust to the metered rate. If utility billing for the strata under the metered rate exceeds the flat rate in each of the first two years, the strata can apply to receive a credit for the difference. There will be no credit in the third or subsequent years.
How long will the installation take?
The installation will vary depending on the metering strategy. This will be determined upon completion of a detailed design, prior to the strata providing final approval to proceed. The water will only be shut off when the final connection is made, which typically does not last for more than a few hours.
How do water meters help conserve water?
Water meters make people aware about their water use. When people are charged for their actual measured use, they tend not to waste it, thereby reducing their water consumption.
Water meters also help identify leaks. Leaks can constitute a significant portion of a city’s water consumption. Eliminating leaks benefits everyone.
What do you get if you sign up?
Free Water Saving Devices: To help promote water conservation, all water meter volunteers can request a water conservation kit. These devices can save an additional 8% on your water and sewer bill.
How often will I receive a bill under the metered rate?
Each unit would no longer receive utility bills directly from the City. The City would bill the strata directly. Bills for water and sewer would be issued quarterly. Flat rate items, which may include drainage/dyking, waste management, and recycling, would be issued annually and included in the first quarter billing.
Why, under the metered rate, are water and sewer billed quarterly instead of yearly?
Quarterly billing helps residents detect water leaks and monitor their water consumption.
What if there is a leak in our underground water service?
If a water leak is discovered on strata property and promptly repaired, the strata may be charged a reduced rate for water consumption.
Will it become mandatory for all homes to be metered?
It is already mandatory for all single-family dwellings and new multi-family complexes to be metered. Residents in new homes began paying the metered rate in 2004. All commercial and industrial water use is metered. The City anticipates that water meters will eventually become mandatory for all of the City’s water customers.
Although rare, it has happened in some homes with very old plumbing that a leak developed after the installation of the water meter. In these cases it was not the water meter that caused the leak, but rather turning the water supply off and on again as part of the installation process.
It is important to note there are other instances where your home’s water is shut off and on again. For example, when City maintenance crews flush fire hydrants, or repair or replace a water main. Both these examples are fairly common occurrences. As such, it is a good idea to keep your home’s plumbing in a good state of repair, regardless of whether you decide to volunteer for a water meter.
If you are concerned about the state of your plumbing, you should contact a plumber to conduct an assessment for you.
Check valves which are known to occasionally cause thermal expansion problems are not installed along with the meter.
Where can I get more information?
For more information, contact 604-276-4039 or email@example.com.