Utility billing FAQs
Below you will find some answers to common questions and sample scenarios to help you understand what has changed with utility billing. In November, the City has started handling utility billing and customer care, services previously provided by Corix.
If you have a question not covered below, contact Utility Billing Customer Care, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-469-8757. For after hours and emergencies call 250-469-8600.
Yes. The City of Kelowna has taken back the administration of City utility billing and payments for water and sewer. It is no longer provided by Corix and its online eCare platform. To continue receiving your bills electronically you need to re-register online with the City’s eBilling system using your new account number and access code. The process will only take a few minutes. You will need your email address and to create a password that is at least 10 characters long.
Not to worry: your payment will be applied to your correct account. During the transition, we have matched your new account number to the previous Corix number as a safeguard. You will want to make adjustments with your financial institution, through online and telephone banking, or on your cheques, to reflect the new account number.
Budget billing is now called the Equalized Payment Plan. You will need to re-apply. The main difference is that on the Equalized Payment Plan you will receive bimonthly statements and make equalized monthly payments. The amount you pay is an average based on actual usage. In order to be on the plan you will need to sign up for pre-authorized withdrawals with PAWS.
Online access to Corix eCare will be available until Dec. 31, 2017. We recommend downloading or printing the information you need prior to that day.
Your billing history from November/December 2017 onwards will be available via ebilling, including PDFs of past statements. You can also contact Utility Billing Customer Care at email@example.com or at 250-469-8757.
Because tenant accounts are being phased out, your account will need to be closed. Contact Utility Billing Customer Care at minimum two (2) days prior to your move-out date at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 250-469-8757. We will schedule a final meter read and issue you a final bill. Be sure to pay your account to bring it up to date.
If you signed up for Budget Billing (Equalized Payment Plan) and/or Pre-Authorized Withdrawal System (PAWS) be sure to call us at least 20 days before your move-out date to cancel enrolment. You will also want to update your financial institution to remove the account from your payees list.
Your tenant’s current account will be maintained until they move out. There will be no change for now; the City is phasing out tenant accounts over time. When your tenant moves out, then, at that time, the utilities account will move to the property in your name, as the owner.
When the account transfers to you, you will have the option for a copy of the statement to be sent to your new tenant, but the account remains in your name. As the landlord you will need to decide how to bill utilities to your tenant (e.g. part of monthly rent, as an addition to rent, or if you provide them with your account number to pay at their financial institution).
Currently, the City of Kelowna transfers closed tenant accounts with an outstanding balance to the owner’s property taxes. In 2018 there will be a grace period; however, on Dec. 31, 2018 all outstanding tenant account balances (including active or closed accounts) will be transferred to the owner’s property taxes. The City has always transferred owner accounts in arrears to property taxes.
We recommend signing up for ebilling. You can add in all the individual property accounts that you manage in one convenient online location.
Alternatively, you have the option to request a copy of the account statement to be sent to your tenants. As the landlord you will need to make arrangements with your tenants for payments. The account remains in your name.
Your account does not close, instead it will transfer to the new owners of the property. The account number for the property never changes. BC Assessment will provide the City of Kelowna with the new ownership information.
The City will no longer do final meter readings outside of the regular billing cycles. Your lawyer/notary and real estate agent will need to reconcile utilities as part of the sale (similar to how they reconcile outstanding tax balances in the statement of adjustment).
Are you on the Equalized Payment Plan and/or Pre-Authorized Withdrawal System (PAWS)? Be sure to contact Utility Billing Customer Care at email@example.com or 250-469-8757 or at at least 20 days in advance to cancel your enrolment for your account. You’ll also want to update your account number with your financial institution.
The City will no longer do final meter readings outside of the regular billing cycles. Your lawyer or notary can contact Utility Billing Customer Care at 250-469-8757 at least five (5) days before closing date to request a water consumption estimate to help approximate the charge and allocate the utility account balance between you (the seller) and the new buyer.
The City of Kelowna is not opening new tenant accounts. The utilities account is with the property in the property owner’s name. As a landlord, you will need to manage utility payments directly with your tenant. Suggestions on options you may wish to consider are: include utilities as a fixed sum as part of monthly rent, bill your tenant an addition above rent to cover utilities costs, provide your tenant with the account number and they can pay the amount owing with their financial institution.
Property owners are responsible for ensuring utilities are paid on time. Following a grace period during the transition, starting on Dec. 31, 2018, all outstanding tenant account (active or closed accounts) will be transferred to the owner’s property taxes.
If you have an unusually high water bill or notice that there is pooling water in your house or yard, you may have a leak.
Here is a list of items to check around your property to investigate prior to contacting the City:
Have you noticed any toilets routinely running or filling without flushing?
The rubber dam at the bottom of the toilet tank could be deteriorating causing a small leak.
Flush handle could be loose or stay stuck causing the water to continue to flow unless the handle is jiggled.
Has there been any power interruptions to your irrigation controller that may have caused it to change its watering schedule?
Verify the programmed watering schedule to ensure that it aligns with your allowable watering days, that your watering time is appropriate for your hydrozone/plant material and is between the hours of 7pm-6am.
Are there some unusually wet spots in your yard that do not seem to dry out?
Check to see if there is normal water pressure coming out of hoses or irrigation lines. A drop in flow could indicate a broken pipe somewhere.
If you have access to view your meter: turn off anything that may be using water (taps, washing machine, dishwasher, irrigation system) and check your water meter for several minutes. If you are still observing increasing water usage numbers, then there is likely a leak.
What if I think my water meter is at fault?
We can verify that your meter is reading correctly, but we ask that the steps above be checked first prior to contacting the City. Life expectancy for a water meter is typically 20-30 years and are replaced according to a strict maintenance and replacement schedule.Meters will wear over time, but when they wear, they tend to slow down and therefore produce lower water usage readings. Meters only produce higher readings if there is an increase in the rate of water flowing through.
Please be aware that you are responsible for all water consumed on your property, but in the event of a confirmed leak, the City accepts requests to have the consumption reviewed for possible adjustment to a lower tier rate for that billing cycle.
Before contacting the City to request a review, there are a number of items to be aware of:
- The source of the water leak needs to have been identified, isolated, and repaired. It is recommended that you contact a certified plumber or irrigation contractor and keep your receipts as proof of repair. If you fix the leak yourself, save material receipts as proof along with pictures or documents to support that there was a leak and that it was repaired. In all cases, the City will request that you submit these along with the adjustment request.
- You will need to contact the City Utility Billing office and receive instructions on how to submit your request and documentation so that a Service Request can be started for the review.
- The review may take some time as part of the process involves reviewing the next one or more billing cycles to verify that water usage has returned to normal.
We can help reduce your water bill! The City offers a free service to have an irrigation professional come in and assess your irrigation system in order to assess the irrigation controller programing and water coverage recommendations. This is a great way to not only save some money, but also help in conserving vital water in our arid Okanagan climate.