Silverhawk Utilities - An Update from the Utilities Services Committee
Now would be a good time to update you on what the SSPOA Utility Services Committee has been doing, as it seems that Silverhawk Utilities are sending their invoices out early.
As the dust settled from the Star Gas intervention at the end of 2017, the Utility Services Committee started work on reviewing what options the community has to bring about for a greater degree of transparency and accountability with regard to consumption and construction charges set by Silverhawk Utilities.
This has been a long outstanding issue for the community. We all recognize how important a properly functioning sewer utility is, but the ongoing frustration and impotence felt by the community has not diminished.
During the last 5 months, the SSPOA has accumulated and catalogued a significant amount of data. We would like to thank those members of the community who have contributed, in some cases, extensive files of information. This has been very useful.
The view of the Utility Services Committee has not really changed in the 5 months it has been active - if there was a simple answer to this question, it would have been identified and acted upon by now. Because Silverhawk is an unregulated utility, none of the frame works established within British Columbia can be applied to our current situation.
By way of comparison, Star Gas is regulated by the BC Utilities Commission so there is an established appeals procedure, backed by appropriate legislation. That just does not exist with respect to Silverhawk from a pricing perspective. Even with an established regulator and appeals process, the Star Gas intervention took at least 12 months to yield results.
There are a limited number of avenues that the SSPOA is pursuing and they are in the relatively early stage of development, but encouraging progress is being made.
How can homeowners help? If the SSPOA request information from you, providing what has been requested will be very helpful and appreciated. This helps the SSPOA to build up a broader picture of what has happened over time. Your personal information will not be disclosed outside of the SSPOA Utility Services Committee without your explicit consent.
When can homeowners expect to see results? As already highlighted, if this was a straightforward matter, it would have been solved long ago. It is complex with many potential stakeholders involved. The unpalatable truth is we are talking 18 to 36 months with a fair following wind to see the sort of changes that will bring the degree of price regulation and oversight the community as a whole would like to see.
Can the SSPOA help with a homeowner's individual case? One of the Committee Members would always be happy to correspond with individual members, but the SSPOA approach has to be on a community basis, rather than on an individual case basis.
When can homeowners expect to hear more? The SSPOA will seek to provide an update at this year's AGM, but sooner if community decisions are required or a breakthrough is anticipated.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
The Silver Star Property Owners Association, Utility Services Committee.