If you have concerns about your Utilities bill, please contact Utilities Billing at 250-787-8150 or email Utilities Billing.
The City of Fort St. John implemented the key sustainability measure of installing water meters in 2009, which has seen an approximate 25% reduction in water usage even as the city's population continued to grow.
Components of a Water Meter
There are three components to a water meter:
- The meter body – allows a controlled volume of water to flow through
- The meter register – keeps track of the volume of water consumed
- The meter transmission unit (MTU) – transmits water consumption data to City Hall
If one of these components malfunctions, the City does not receive the data and will need to send out a technician to service the water meter.
Reading your water meter
In order to see a meter’s reading, shine a bright flashlight onto the solar panel, which is located just above the digital screen on the face of the register. Tip: Most smartphones and tablets are equipped with a Flashlight!
There are 3 different numbers that come up (disregard the first set of numbers); the second set of numbers is the consumption. When water is flowing through the meter, the last two digits after the decimal will move. This is what you need to watch when reading consumption. The third set of numbers is the rate of flow. After lighting the screen up, the screen will jump back and forth from the rate of flow and the consumption.
Dispute Water Billing
Use the Water Billing Dispute Form to dispute water billing charges regarding the accuracy of an account billing, a meter testing process, or an over billing adjustment process related to the City's Water Regulation Bylaw [PDF - 2 MB].
An appeal must be made within 30 calendar days of receiving the water meter testing results or notice from the City regarding the over or under billing.
Detecting Potential Leaks
Detecting potential leaks can save you thousands of litres of water per year and make an impact on your utility bill. Follow these simple steps:
- Ensure your water meter is functioning accurately.
- Check for obvious leaks.
- Check your fixtures, such as your hot water tank, water softeners or reverse osmosis systems.
- Check if your toilet is running. Put food colouring or a safe dye in the tank of the toilet; if the colour shows up in the toilet bowl, this indicates that the water is continuously running and there is an issue.
- Isolate each water source by shutting off one valve at a time (example: valve to the toilet), then check your water meter to see if there is flow. Ensure that water is not being used anywhere else in the home while you are troubleshooting, such as a washing machine, dishwasher, or shower.
- Call a plumber. If you are unable to diagnose the source of the water leak you may need to contact a plumber.
How Do You Know if Your Water Meter Needs to be Serviced?
The City notifies its customers with a note on the utility bill which states, “When the 'Meter Read’ box says System Estimated or Service Estimated: Please call 250-787-8013 and arrange a meter servicing appointment.” It is important for you to contact the City’s Water Meter Technicians at 250-787-8013 or email Water Meter Techs as soon as possible to have your water meter serviced. This will minimize the impact of the account reconciliation if the appointment is booked right away.
How to Book a Water Meter Service Appointment
Contact the City’s Water Meter Technicians at 250-787-8013 or email Water Meter Techs. Appointments are available during regular business hours. A water meter service appointment takes approximately an hour to complete and is scheduled for a specific time. The City requires someone over the age of 18 to be present for the duration of the appointment. If your water meter is under a mobile home, the homeowner is required to remove the skirting adjacent to the meter.
Where is your Water Meter Located?
It is important to know where your water meter is located because the valves at the meter are your emergency water shut off to your home. Water meters are located inside the home, in a crawlspace, or underneath a mobile home. Residents must provide clear access to the meter, and the meter must not be permanently covered by anything.
How to Protect Your Water Meter from the Cold
If your water meter is not protected against winter conditions, it may freeze and crack. If this happens, contact the City’s Water Meter Technicians immediately at 250-787-8013 or email Water Meter Techs. For after-hours service, please call 250-787-8150 ext. 4. A new water meter will be required at the actual cost of a meter including labour and materials for installation. The homeowner is responsible for protecting the meter from freezing by surrounding it with insulation and heat tape if it is located in a cold location, such as underneath a mobile home or in a cold crawlspace. The above video, or the Winterizing your Water Meter Brochure [PDF - 2 MB], explains how to protect your meter from freezing.
If you notice there is a leak at the water meter, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to repair the shut-off valves and the service line to the property. The City’s responsibility is to repair the meter itself and the connections at the meter.
- Read each monthly utility bill to make sure the water meter is working properly and be aware if the City is trying to notify you.
- Contact the City’s Water Meter Technicians at 250-787-8013 or email Water Meter Techs to book a water meter service appointment when required.
- Keep your contact information updated with the City, including mailing address, phone numbers, and email address.
- Provide clear access to the meter when required.
- Protect the water meter from the cold.
- Notify the City if your water meter is damaged or leaking.