Hamilton Water and Wastewater/Stormwater Billing
Alectra Utilities bills water and wastewater/stormwater usage charges on behalf of the City of Hamilton. The City of Hamilton establishes the water and wastewater/stormwater rates.
Water and wastewater/stormwater rates
All customers pay a fixed daily charge based on their water meter size and pay for their water use monthly. The water use charges vary based on customers’ monthly usage. Combining a fixed service charge and a usage charge gives customers control of their bills and inspires customers to conserve water.
The 2022 City of Hamilton’s Rate Supported Budget reflects Council's ongoing commitment to implement a sustainable financing plan that funds needed maintenance work while maintaining affordable rates for customers. Click below to find more information on the 2022 Rate Budget.
Water and wastewater/stormwater policies
Below are listed the City of Hamilton’s Water and Wastewater Service User Fees effective January 1, 2022.
- Water and Wastewater/Storm User Service Fee and Charges Policy
- Water Distribution System Fees
- Wastewater Abatement Program Fees
- Laboratory Services Fees
- Wastewater / Storm Collection System Inspection & Maintenance Fees
- OS and Hauled Wastewater
Water leak information
Wise water use begins at home
Did you know that many people spend more money on leaky taps than they do on cooking and drinking water? For general information about simple steps to detect water leaks, please visit Common Causes of High-Water Bills. For water leak information and tips, read our Water Leak Detection Guide or visit The City of Hamilton’s information on water leaks.
Leak Protection Program for homeowners
The City of Hamilton’s Leak Protection Program covers qualifying leaks up to $2,500 once every 24 months for residential customers who may incur any unexpected expense on their water bill from plumbing leaks within their homes. All homeowners, including residential rental properties, who have their own water meter are covered by the City of Hamilton’s Water Leak Adjustment Policy.
Information on the Policy guidelines, qualifications and application form is available at www.hamilton.ca/leaks.
Only flush the three Ps: pee, poo, and toilet paper.
Want to avoid expensive repairs to your pipes and sewage system? This rule will help you. Flushing wipes, tampons, garbage, food scraps, tissue, and other things will back-up your system. These items can clump together and clog your pipes. Avoid unnecessary repairs and only flush the 3 Ps: pee, poo, and toilet paper.
Visit Hamilton’s Flushables page for more information.
If it’s not rain/melted snow, don’t let it go into catch basins/storm sewers!
Catch basins and storm sewers are like your household drains. You cannot put garbage, chemicals, fertilizer, or other things into them. If you put wastes into these drains, you are polluting natural bodies of water. The water from these sewers flows directly into lakes, rivers, and streams. Protect our environment by following these simple rules:
- Put pet waste in the garbage
- Do not dump anything into the catch basins – it is for stormwater only
- Keep lawn fertilizer off hard surfaces like driveways or sidewalks
- Properly dispose of household chemicals and hazardous wastes at a Community Recycling Centre
- Do not use the hose to clean off sidewalks and driveways
- Clear off the catch basin in front of your home by sweeping up and properly disposing of any debris or buildup
- Do not sweep yard waste/grass clippings onto the street or into catch basins – instead, sweep it into a yard waste bin for pick up
For more ways you can help protect the environment please visit Hamilton’s Pollution Prevention page.
Who is responsible for water and wastewater charges?
Subsection 398 (2) of the Municipal Act of 2001 allows the City of Hamilton to add the unpaid water bills to the property owner’s tax roll, even if it is a rental and the owner does not live there. Although tenants get the bills, property owners must pay any outstanding water fees. These outstanding fees are added to the tax roll and have priority lien status described under section 1 of the Municipal Act, 2001.
To assist property owners who direct water and wastewater billings to a tenant, Alectra Utilities endeavours to notify property owners of tenant/account holder arrears at 30 calendar days beyond the due date. If the account remains unpaid, the water/wastewater arrears will be added to the property’s tax roll when the account is 60 calendar days beyond the due date.
Owners with residential properties
Hamilton City Council approved changes to the water billing policy. All residential accounts opened on or after June 1, 2018, must be in the property owner’s name(s), not the tenant(s) ’s. Alectra Utilities, as the City’s water billing agent, will accept payments from tenants and other non-owners. However, it is the property owner’s responsibility to make sure that tenants pay the bills on time.
Existing accounts billed in the tenant’s name(s) will remain until they move out. Once they move, Alectra will put the water account in the property owner’s name(s). Alectra Utilities will mail the water bill to the owner’s address as listed on the property taxes. To update mailing address information, contact the City of Hamilton’s Taxation office.
For more information, visit these links:
- Residential Tenant Billing Change FAQs
- City of Hamilton Report: Water and Wastewater / Storm Third Party Billing Arrangements
Why property owner contact information is needed
The city’s staff and authorized agents may need access to the property to do maintenance work and must have access to the meter to read and collect the data. When it is not possible to get access through a tenant, they will contact the property owner.
If the city can’t access and read the water meter through the owner or tenant, the water bills will follow the charges protocol explained above. Alectra Utilities needs property owners’ contact information to avoid adding unpaid or unable to read water meter fees to tax rolls.
Alectra Utilities needs property owners’ contact information, including mailing address, phone number(s), and email address. The property owner must make sure that we have their current address to get updates. Please contact us or the City of Hamilton’s taxation office to update your address.
The City of Hamilton’s taxation office contact information:
71 Main Street West,
PO Box 2040 Stn LCD 1,
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: https://webforms.alectrautilities.com/AlectraForms/fnform.aspx?WMR. 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.
Property Tax Considerations
Purchasing a Tax Certificate (2022 fee = $65.70) is strongly recommended to identify the tax status of the property and ensure arrears are cleared in advance of closing. Other important items to be aware of to facilitate a more efficient closing includes:
- If making a property tax payment online or at the bank, please ensure the roll number used does not include the City of Hamilton’s “2518” in front of the roll number that appears on mail-in tax certificates (tax certificates purchased online do not have the “2518” as part of the roll number). Please only use the 11 digits after the 2518, as follows: 2518 -0000
- The pre-authorized payment plan is linked to the property. As such, the vendor is required to cancel pre-authorized payments on the property being sold and reapply if they wish to resume pre-authorized payments on their new property. The City requires two weeks written notice to stop pre-authorized withdrawals. The cancelation form is available at www.hamilton.ca/payyourpropertytax under “Changes to your pre-authorized debit plan”. If the City is not provided with sufficient notice and a withdrawal is made after the closing, a refund will not be issued. The vendor will be directed to have their lawyer re-adjust for property taxes to take into account the additional withdrawal.
- The City will not action ownership changes for a sale date in the future or received by the vendor’s lawyer, unless the request is accompanied by the transfer deed. As such, ownership changes will only be actioned if received after closing and by way of either the transfer deed or notice from the purchaser’s lawyer.