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Canmore Water Bill Mediation Program Expands

Thursday, December, 27, 2018

Residents with a concern over their water bill will gain access to a free mediation program through the Canmore’s Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA). The program was launched on December 1, 2018 and gives the agency a greater mandate that goes beyond its original mediation program for natural gas and electrical disputes.


According to the local public works manager, Andreas Comeau, the new service is a welcome enhancement. He explained, “Sometimes people are more comfortable talking to a third party mediator than they would perhaps through the town, so this just really gives them another avenue if they have any questions. Often bills can be quite complicated and difficult to understand, so this group can help walk a customer through a bill so they can understand how it is broken out, what the different numbers mean and why their bill looks the way it does.”


According to Comeau, there are around a dozen inquiries raised annually by residents. Now, if the resident is not happy with the response from their town, the UCA can work on the resident’s behalf to resolve the issue.


The mediation panel has nine members, five of whom are members of the general public chosen by a competition program. They have a broad range of skills, including experience in policy and law, education, utility infrastructure, home ownership, and social work. The panel is scheduled to meet two to four times a year and have been given an annual budget of $32,000 to work with, which is nearly 90 percent less than the UCA Advisory Board that previously oversaw disputes.