Mission to be reimbursed $359,000

Inaccurate meter readings overcharged district for four years

Mission taxpayers have been overcharged for water use for four years and the Abbotsford-Mission Water and Sewer Commission (AMWAC) is recommending Abbotsford reimburse its northern neighbours $359,000.

“The commission has been debating this for quite a while trying to determine what happened,” explained Kris Boland, manager of finance for Mission. “This was the resolution.”

There are five bulk water meters in Mission which are used to determine the portion of the surface water that flows to both communities.

A change in the flow distribution ratio between Mission and Abbotsford was discovered in 2012 when a meter was being replaced.

“What it really reflected was a single metre was erroneously calibrated so the translation of pressure into volume gave a reading indicating our split was higher than it really was,” said Coun. Jeff Jewell.

Data revealed a reduction of three megalitres a day to Mission on Nov. 7, 2011, bringing Mission’s portion of the system from 26.8 per cent to 23.1 per cent.

The commission has been studying the issue extensively for about a year and a half, but could not tie it to a specific event, said Boland.

According to a report from the commission, it is difficult to determine how long the inaccurate readings have been going on, however, there was a notable increase at another meter in March 2007, comparable in magnitude to the drop discovered in 2011.

Mission’s compensation is based on the adjusted flows from 2007 to 2011.

The District of Mission plans to put the money into the water reserve fund and Mission councillors will discuss the issue at the next council meeting on Aug. 6. Both Mission council and Abbotsford council need to approve the recommendation.

Jewell expects both councils will approve it since the resolution was developed by staff from the two communities.

Five new bulk meters were installed in 2012 and considered to be measuring correctly.

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