The Water, Wastewater and Stormwater program is self-sustaining. Revenue comes from billing residents for water use.
You are charged for water use based on your water meter reading. You receive a bill for your water use from the City’s billing agent, Alectra Utilities. If you have questions regarding your water bill or payment options, contact Alectra Utilities, Billing at 1-833-253-2872 or visit Alectra Utilities.
Alectra will discontinue utility water billing in several municipalities, including the City of Hamilton. These changes are expected to occur at the end of 2024. There will be no changes to your water, wastewater and stormwater billing, payments and invoices until that time.
More information will be provided in 2024 – until then, you will continue to receive a combined electricity and water bill from Alectra Utilities.
Alectra Utilities has committed to working with the City of Hamilton to provide customers with a smooth transition as water billing services during the transition.
Water and Property Tax Billing Considerations at Closing
The City of Hamilton recognizes that transferring ownership of a home or business is complex, and part of that process is ensuring the seller is making good on paying off municipal water utility charges and/or municipal property taxes. No buyer wants to be on the hook for another person’s unpaid bills – but it can happen.
For Hamilton properties serviced with municipal water and wastewater services:
Sellers should contact the City’s water billing agent, Alectra Utilities @ 1-833-ALECTRA (1-833-253-2872) to provide a forwarding address and move-out date. By doing so, Alectra can then forward the final water invoice to the new address.
Buyers should contact Alectra to advise of their move-in date and to provide contact information for future correspondence. Please note all residential accounts must be opened and billed in the name of the registered owner(s) of the property, and not the name of any tenant(s).
Additionally, buyers should request from Alectra an Arrears Certificate (applicable fee of $15.00 plus H.S.T.) that will provide the payment status of the water account and will advise if the account is being based on estimated readings.
The Certificate notes the account is subject to adjustment arising from the final water invoice. It is important the final invoice be based on an actual water meter reading taken on the date of closing (meter readings can be submitted to Alectra by phone or via an online form). Unbilled consumption is the responsibility of the property owner at the time an actual read is obtained.
Water and wastewater services are provided to a property, not a person, and are regulated under the Municipal Act. The Act gives municipalities the authority to collect unpaid fees and charges by adding them to the municipal tax bill for the property that received the service.
It is prudent for the Buyer to hold back funds from the seller to ensure the final water invoice is paid. Unpaid water arrears are transferred to the property tax roll, 60 post invoice due date and therefore, an unpaid final water invoice would become the responsibility of the buyer. Buyers may contact Alectra to confirm if the final invoice has been sent out and if it has been paid.
Buyers should review what is – and what is not – covered under title insurance policies. Some policies have an exclusion built in for final meter reading charges.
What water rates pay for
Delivery of safe, reliable drinking water to citizens and businesses of Hamilton. Hamilton’s water comes from Lake Ontario and our water treatment and distribution systems make it ready for you to drink straight from the tap.
Collection and treatment of wastewater and stormwater. Collecting and treating rain water, storm run-off and sanitary waste from domestic, commercial, and industrial activity is key to preventing source water pollution and protecting public health.
Operating, maintaining, replacing and rehabilitating aging water, wastewater and stormwater sewer systems.
- 1 water treatment plant
- 4 communal well systems
- 2 wastewater treatment plants
- 4,900 kilometres of pipes
- 13,000 fire hydrants
- 145,000 water connections & meters
- 139,000 sewer connections
- 150 pumping/outstations
Water meter installation, reading and maintenance. In addition to measuring consumption allowing us to charge fairly based on volumetric use, metering provides an incentive for water conservation and preservation of this invaluable, life-sustaining resource.
Capital infrastructure investments to improve water and wastewater processes ensuring fiscal and environmental sustainability. The current replacement value of our water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure is $9.76 billion.
In an effort to reduce costs the City of Hamilton has:
- Built a gas purification plant that allows us to convert methane into natural gas that is sold back to the local grid.
- Built a methane-powered cogeneration unit that produces enough electricity to power 1200 homes per year.
- Focused on system leak detection initiatives to reduce water loss.
- Optimized chemical usage and hydro time-of-day use.
- Replaced process equipment with more efficient devices.
- Implemented trenchless technologies to rehabilitate infrastructure.
- Optimized management of both in-house and contract staff resources.
Visit Alectra Utilities website for more information on Understanding Your Water Bill.
Current Water, Wastewater and Stormwater rates
How do we compare to other municipalities?
Hamilton’s water and wastewater/storm rates are among the lowest in Ontario. Hamilton has the second lowest water costs at $722 for 200 m3/year amongst the cities in our region as shown below:
Why do rates keep increasing?
Water and wastewater budgets contain fixed costs that do not change in direct proportion to water consumption. The cost to distribute, collect and treat municipal water and wastewater throughout the City remains relatively constant, regardless of the volume actually consumed by all residents.
The largest portion of your bill is used for capital renewal and expansion of the City’s overall water/wastewater/stormwater infrastructure that has a replacement value of $10 billion. Aging City infrastructure becomes more costly to operate, maintain and replace with over 20% of the City’s water and sewer mains being more than 80 years old.