Frequently Asked Questions

WATER METERS

Why did the City of North Bay implement universal residential water metering?
Universal residential water metering has been proven through national benchmarking and internal studies as an effective way to reduce overall water consumption. Metered customers pay for the water they use, which makes it fair for everyone. It gives customers the opportunity to be aware of the water they use and allows them to take steps toward better water management and conservation. Metering also provides the City with a tool to detect backflow, no flow, leaks and tampering. Consumption reports are used as a mechanism to manage water loss and maximize revenue generation.

Who pays for the water meter?
The City of North Bay pays for the water meter and its installation.

What are the benefits to the customer of being on a water meter?
It is beneficial because the customer pays for only the water they use, so it is fair for everyone. Also, the customer is more aware of how much water they are using and as a result, they become more conservative in their water use and implement water-conservation measures.

How are the water meters read?
Water meters are read through a wireless Fixed Area Network and are read automatically. A Meter Interface Unit transmits readings from the water meter to Data Collector Units located throughout the City which in turn communicates with a central server. The only time anyone would need access to a home after installation would be to inspect, test, repair or replace the meter.

Since the new water meter will be read automatically by radio frequency (RF) transmission, will the RF transmission interfere with any of my wireless devices in my home such as my cell phone, wireless modem or portable telephone?
The RF technology that will be utilized for the reading of the water meters will be on a secure, encrypted and licensed radio frequency band that requires approval from Industry Canada prior to use. Utilizing this licensed radio frequency ensures that it will not interfere with any other licensed radio frequencies within the City or with any Industry Canada approved unlicensed radio frequency devices such as those commonly used in residential applications. Therefore, there will be no interference with any of the existing Industry Canada approved wireless devices in your home.

WATER BILLING

How often will I receive my residential water and sewer bill?
Monthly

What is the average consumption for a residential consumer?
Between 14 and 17 cubic meters per month approximately 0.47 to 0.57 cubic meters per day.

Are there any costs associated with water metering on my property tax bill?
No. Property taxes are not linked to water billings or the installation of the water meters. Water and sewer services are funded on a user pay system therefore no portion of the water/sewer budgets are funded through the tax levy. All costs associated with water and sewer on collected from your water bills.

Does the City offer incentives?
At this stage, the City is not considering offering any rebates for the replacement of existing plumbing fixtures to water efficient fixtures. Currently, the Federal Government through its EcoEnergy program does offer rebate incentives for certain water efficient plumbing fixtures. 

What part of the water bill pays for the Water Treatment Plant?
The Water Filtration Charge.

Why do we pay for municipal sewers?
Unlike most municipal services, which residents pay for through property taxes, sewer and water services are self-financing. This means residents are directly billed for the water they use, as well their share of the costs for transporting clean water to their homes and carrying wastewater away from their homes for treatment and release back into the environment.

The sewer component of your bill is based on a percentage of the water charges. That's because the more water used, the more wastewater the City must transport and ultimately treat before it can be released back into the environment. Therefore the amount of water residents consume is multiplied by a pre-determined rate to determine the sewer fee that appears on their water bill. The sewer rate is needed to cover the costs of operating and maintaining the sewer infrastructure.

Why is my metered water bill suddenly very high?

“CHECK FOR LEAKS IN YOUR HOME”

  • hot water tanks   
  • taps
  • toilets       
  • hose bibs
  • shower heads    
  • water using appliances
  • irrigation systems          
  • water softeners

I am moving. What do I do?
A final reading must be requested in advance of the closing date.
Your solicitor will look after water adjustments on your behalf and advise us of the new owners after the closing date.

I have a tenant living at my property. Can you send the utility bill to them?
Yes. As the owner of a rental property you must complete an Owner Tenant Contract (OTC) application and return it to the City of North Bay. Follow the instructions on the application form. If the tenant does not pay the bill, it is the property owner’s responsibility. 

 I have historically had my water shut off for the winter (snowbird) by the Public Works Department. Will I continue to receive water bills?
Yes, monthly fixed charges will continue to be billed. 

PAYMENT OPTIONS

How can I pay my water bill?

  • Customer Service Centre
  • On-line
  • Banking Institutions
  • Post-dated cheque
  • Drop Box outside City hall or


Pre-authorized Payment Plan:
Your payment is automatically withdrawn from your bank account on the 27th day each month. With the Pre-Authorized Payment Plan, your water bill is sent to you in advance of the date your payment is withdrawn from your bank account. This way, you’ll know ahead of time the exact amount that will be withdrawn.

Pre-Authorized Budget Payment Plan:
Pre-Authorized Budget Payment Plan withdrawal amounts will be based on your average billing for the last six-month period. Since six months of billing history is not initially available the amount will be determined by the Water Billing Department. Your account will be reviewed twice per year to ensure that your monthly equal payment amount remains reasonable. You will be advised on your regular bill if the amount has been re-assessed. June and December are anticipated to be the reconciliation months.  Upon reconciliation, your bill will reflect the monthly budget amount plus or minus any adjustments for overpayment or underpayment.
To participate in either Pre-Authorized Payment Plan through your financial institution chequing account, we require a sample cheque marked ‘void’ and a completed Form.

Enrollment

Application forms are available:

Completed forms can be:

  • Dropped Off atCity Hall - Customer Service Department
  • Faxed to 705-495-2378 to
  • Emailed to customerservice@cityofnorthbay.ca
  • Mailed to City of North Bay, Water Department
    200 McIntyre Street. East   P.O BOX 360
    North Bay ON P1B 8H8 

I am going away for an extended period of time. What can I do about my water bill?
You can choose to have it paid through Pre-authorized payment, prepay in advance by post-dated cheque or cash or debit.
Water can be turned OFF at the curb stop by calling Public works 474-4340 and arranging a shut off time. There is a fee associated with the turn OFF and ON. A final bill will be issued and will resume once the water is turned back ON.  You will continue to be responsible to pay the monthly flat charges whether the water is on or off. 

WATER RUN POLICY

I have historically gotten permission from the Public Works Department to run water during the winter to prevent my pipes from freezing, but was on flat rate billing so my water bill wasn’t affected? Now that I’m on a water meter, will I be charged for the continuous flow of water?
You must contact Public Works Dispatch at 705-474-4340 and sign a Water Service Agreement.  Your water bill will be adjusted to reflect a charge equal to an average unadjusted three month consumption period. 

UNDERSTANDING YOUR WATER METER

Go to Getting to know your new Meter

I have created an account on the e-Services Web Portal and did not receive a confirmation email. What is my next step?
Check your spam or junk folder.  

I have forgotten my password. How do I reset it?
Go to the Login Screen and click on the Forgot My Password Link.

Can I have multiple accounts?
Yes. Click on Add Water Account 

Can I remove an account?
Choose the property you wish to delete and click on Delete to the right of the property. 

Under Usage Profile it indicates continuous or intermittent. What does that mean?

You will get one of the three messages noted below for each day’s consumption?

  • Normal: Normal consumption
  • Intermittent: Your consumption is higher than normal which may indicate a leak
  • Continuous: Your water flow is continuous therefore it is highly likely you have a leak.

What are the most common leaks in residential homes?
Hot water tanks, toilets, shower heads, irrigation systems, taps, hose bibs, water using appliances and water purifiers. If you can’t locate the leak, hire a licensed plumber to assist you. 

If I have a leak will I be charged for the additional water that went through the meter?
Yes all water that runs through the meter is billable.  It is imperative that property owners monitor, identify and repair leaks. 

I have been using my water but my profile shows “No Consumption”. Why?
It is difficult to provide an answer to this question without troubleshooting with City Staff. Please call the Customer Service Centre at 705-474-0400 and ask to speak to a Water Billing Clerk. 

Why can’t I see the history of my water consumption?
Has your Meter Interface Unit been changed?  If so, the previous history will not be available. If not, please call the Customer Service Centre at 705-474-0400 and ask to speak to a Water Billing Clerk.