Dec 08, 2020

Canadian Province Close to Setting 2021 Industrial Water Rates

Saint John, Canada is close to finalizing rates that three large industrial customers will pay for water in 2021.

alberta canada

Saint John, Canada is close to finalizing rates that three large industrial customers will pay for water in 2021.

"This is a communications challenge," said Saint John Mayor Don Darling about what Irving Oil Ltd., JD Irving Ltd, and NB Power will pay for city water service next year at four large industrial plants, reported CBC News. 

At a Saint John finance committee meeting, deputy commissioner of Saint John water Kendall Mason explained that the city must recover nearly $6 million next year from Irving Oil's refinery, NB Power's Coleson Cove generating station and two J.D. Irving Ltd. paper mills. This is necessary to maintain, operate and finance the city infrastructure that supplies the group with raw, untreated water, according to CBC News.

According to Darling, the plan is to charge $2.8 million to the west side Irving pulp and paper mill at the edge of the Reversing Falls, $2.7 million to the Irving Oil refinery, $246,000 Irving Paper and $195,000 NB Power.  

This is overall approximately a $400,000 increase over what the group was budgeted to be charged this year. 

Industrial water rates have been the source of controversy in Saint John since at least 1958, when it signed a 25-year agreement with industrialist K.C. Irving to supply Irving Pulp and Paper up to 159 million liters per day for less than $120,000 per year, reported CBC News. 

A lawsuit launched by Saint John to enforce higher rates failed. Currently, Saint John's industrial water system is now completely separate from the public drinking water system.

Darling asked that a document be prepared to clearly explain industrial water rates for 2021, reported CBC News.

"I think anything we can do to explain," said Darling. "Not messing with people, not lying to them, not suggesting we can just swipe a pen and charge one ratepayer over another some exorbitant new amount of money when we can't."

The proposed rates were approved by the finance committee and have been forwarded to city council for final consideration.

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