Frequently Asked Questions
Is my complex eligible for a water meter?
All multi-family homes in Richmond, 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 email@example.com for more information.
My strata does not want to install a water meter. Can I have a meter installed for my unit only?
No, meters can only be installed for the entire strata.
Can individual meters be installed for each unit to further improve equity?
No, installation of individual meters for each unit would be very expensive and would require extensive re-plumbing work. In addition, the City does not have access to read or maintain the meters if they are located at each unit. Although installing one meter per complex does not allow individual units to pay for their own water use, it does improve equity compared to the flat rate. We encourage complexes to work together to help conserve water and manage water use.
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 if my metered rate exceeds the flat rate?
The City of Richmond offers a five-year guarantee. During the first five years after you install a water meter, if your metered bill exceeds the flat rate, you can apply to the City for a credit equal to the difference in amount. There will be no credit in the sixth or subsequent years. However, 98% of multi-family complexes with a meter saved money in 2019.
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, which can constitute a significant portion of a city’s water consumption.
How often will I receive a bill under the metered rate?
Each unit will no longer receive utility bills directly from the City. Bills for water and sewer will be issued to the strata quarterly. Utilities on a flat rate, including flood protection and solid waste and recycling fees, will be issued annually and be included in the first quarter billing. These fees will be included in your strata fees.
How will strata divide the water and sewer bill among the various units in my complex?
The City will only issue one bill for your complex. How your strata charges individual units is up to your strata and the City cannot affect that decision.
Why are metered water and sewer bills sent quarterly instead of yearly?
A quarterly billing system was adopted to help residents improve their ability to detect water leaks as well as to verify operation of the water meter. An annual billing system would reduce the opportunity for leak detection, potentially resulting in residents accumulating substantial consumption and charges due to unattended leaks and water wastage.
What if there is a leak in our underground water service?
If a water leak is discovered on your strata property and verified by a certified plumber, once you repair the leak, the strata can apply for a leak adjustment. Through this program, the strata may be charged a reduced rate for water consumption that is above the historical average.
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.
How long will the installation take?
The installation time will vary for each complex. Once design of the meter(s) is complete, the strata will be notified of the estimated installation time prior to the strata providing final approval to proceed with the work. Water shut off will occur when the final connection is made and typically does not last for more than a few hours.
Will our plumbing system or hot water tank be affected by the water meter?
If your plumbing system is in a good state of repair, installing a water meter should not have any adverse effects. Although rare, some homes with very old plumbing will see a leak after the installation of a water meter. In these cases, the leak is likely caused by turning the water supply off and on during the installation process. It is important to note there are other instances where your water is turned off and on again, such as when City maintenance crews flush fire hydrants, or repair or replace a water main. As such, it is a good idea to keep your plumbing in a good state of repair. If you are concerned, you should contact a plumber to conduct an assessment.
Will the meter affect my water pressure?
No, there will be no noticeable difference in water pressure after your meter is installed.
Where can I get more information?
For more information, contact 604-276-4179 or firstname.lastname@example.org.