Utility Bylaw 450 FAQ's

Keep in mind: All NEW utility accounts must be in the property owner’s name, as of April 1,2023. 

  •  Can a copy of the bill be sent to my residential/commercial tenant?
    1. Utility bills can be sent to tenants and owners, with the owner signing a waiver. The City encourages you to sign up for online, paperless billing as an easy and environmentally friendly option. 
  • Am I liable for my tenant's bill?
    1.  Once the bill is in the owner's name, the owner is responsible for payments and any delinquencies that may accrue. Owners can privately arrange for their tenants to make payments on the Owner’s utility account. Owners will always receive the utility bills but can also sign a waiver (available online) allowing a convenient copy of the bills to also be sent to tenants. 
  • My bills currently go to my tenants who pay their bills. Does the utility account have to change to my name?
    1. Existing tenants will be grandfathered if their account remains in good standing. All new utility accounts must be in the Owner's name, as of April 1, 2023. 
  • How do I access the utility account waiver?
    1. A webportal on lacombe.ca/utilitybylaw is available established to allow utility account owners to access waivers, allowing statements to be sent to tenants and owners. 
  • Where is my meter and how do I find out my meter size? You can send us a picture.
    1. Your water meter is on the inside of the property, in the basement or maintenance area. You may contact the Utilities Department at utilities@lacombe.ca for assistance or to request an inspection of your meter.
  • How do I sign up for paperless billing?
    1. Online billing allows multiple email addresses to receive monthly statements. To sign up for paperless billing, go to https://onlineservices.lacombe.ca/LinkRegister.aspx.
  • What rate structure changes are coming in 2024?
    1. Following the adoption of Utility Bylaw 450, Administration began a phasing of the new 5‐year transition, starting in 2024, to the proposed new utility rate structure with more equitable fixed rates between residential and non-residential ratepayers.
    2. The Bylaw accomplishes this by introducing a tiered disposal fee for all non‐residential City utility customers, regardless of whether they utilize City collection services. The Bylaw also introduces tiered water and wastewater fixed fees based on customer meter size and wastewater service line size to address less significant rate inequities in those utilities.    
    3. In 2023 Administration will advise non‐residential customers of the pending rate changes and provide them with an avenue to adjust their fixed rate tier (i.e., install a smaller meter, or reduce the number of solid waste bins or tipping frequency).
  • Do other municipalities structure their rates like this?
    1. The change to a rate structure with a more equitable alignment between residential and non-residential properties. Some municipalities in the region have similar fixed rate tiers for water and wastewater billings. 
  • Do other municipalities allow renters to sign up for utilities?
    1. The City of Lacombe’s previous Utility Bylaw, which allowed for utility bills in tenants’ name, was an outlier amongst comparator communities. Out of 15 communities surveyed, only one allowed accounts to be in the name of tenants. 
  • As a caretaker, how do I pay someone else's bill?
    1. Owners are responsible for bills but can decide: 
      • Who has access to edit the utility account information if anyone (i.e., spouse, caregiver)
      • Who has access to account balance and consumption information, if anyone (i.e., tenants).
    2. Please speak with a customer service representative at City Hall if your situation is unique
  • Why are we phasing the rates over 5 years?
    1. The change allows for non-residential utility clients, who may see significant changes to their utility bills, the time to adapt to the incoming changes – and make any alterations to their accounts (I.e. installing a different water meter) if they choose to do so. 
  • How will I know what utilities were consumed if my tenant moves out in the middle of the month?
    1. The utility readings will be done monthly; no interim billings will be authorized. However, your meter read will be shown on each monthly bill.  On your walk though you can read your own meter on pro-rate the bill accordingly