Oxford County could be charging customers who choose not to participate in its countywide water metering project a flat-rate charge for non-participation.
The fees will apply to customers who choose not to participate in the installation of water meters and meter reading devices that the county is installing on private properties, normally in the basement of a home or business, all over the county.
The flat-rate charge for water-only customers will be $100 per month, while water and wastewater customers will receive a flat charge of $200 per month. A manual read fee for water and wastewater customers with a meter will be $35 per month.
Director of county public works Rob Walton said since this project requires staff to get into each person’s home to install the equipment, there are bound to be people who miss appointments with the contractor.
“At the end of the day in every one of these projects there are people, for whatever reason, who won’t make their appointments,” he said. “In Woodstock, when that project happened three or four years ago, we did this and it was highly successful. At the end of the project, I believe it was (approximately) 99.7 per cent compliance.”
The countywide water metering project is currently finishing meter replacements in Tillsonburg, with the contractor, Corix Water Products, reported to have completed 84 per cent of the accounts in Tillsonburg as of June 24.
After Tillsonburg, Corix will move onto all township communities, including Norwich, Otterville, Tavistock, Innerkip and so on, during the summer and fall, before moving onto Ingersoll in the winter.
The county is also proposing a program that would offer people who have poor plumbing a low interest loan to fix their plumbing issues in order to have the new water meters installed.
“People that are in a position where their plumbing is in a deteriorated condition, where if we went to cut the meter in it would cause other problems, we’re proposing to put a program out there to loan them money to fix the plumbing,” Walton said. “We did that in Woodstock, in wasn’t used in many circumstances, but it was used a few times.”
County council will vote on directing staff to prepare the necessary bylaws to enforce these charges at its meeting on Wednesday.