Medicine Hat ratepayer association holding ‘founding meeting’ in January

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Medicine Hat ratepayer association holding ‘founding meeting’ in January

medicine hat ratepayers December 8, 2023

MEDICINE HAT, AB – The upstart Medicine Hat Utilities Ratepayer Association revealed on on Monday plans to hold an “informative, founding” meeting in January as it continued its call for city council to eliminate a utility fee.

“This will be a time to voice your concerns, ideas and support for our association to move forward in our mission,” a news release from the association said.

The association, known as MHURA, has invited residents and businesses to join them at Higdon Hall at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 for the meeting.

MHURA formally kicked off with a press conference Dec. 7 calling on members of council to remove a municipal consent and access fee included on utility charges.
Council said that access fee, known as the MCAF, was already being looked at as part of an ongoing broader review of the city’s energy business that was approved in September.

MHURA was unsatisfied with council’s response in its news release, again calling on the mayor and councillors to remove the fee, which is set to increase in 2024.

“In the interim, the City of Medicine Hat should reduce the burden on Medicine Hat resident and businesses by eliminating the temporary municipal consent and access fee,” MHURA said in its statement.

“This fee is a tax that is not beholden to our utilities or attached to our utility business in any way that it needs a review of the utilities to eliminate,” it adds.

Residents do not pay an MCAF in Redcliff and Cypress County, MHURA pointed out.

The MCAF is commonly used by municipalities for third-party utility companies setting up shop on city-owned property. The utility then downloads the cost to customers to make up the money.

Despite having a publicly-owned utility company, Medicine Hat council in 2018 added the MCAF to fill a $16 million deficit in its budget.

MHURA also continued its call on city council to reconsider its approval of a planned four per cent tax increase in 2024 as part of a recent budget update.


The association emphasized the importance of its advocacy in the face of upcoming challenges in its statement.

“With the third party review on utilities coming in 2024, as well as pending increased fees, taxes and the costs of transition to net-zero electric generation, this will all determine the residents and business budgets in the near future,” MHURA said.

“The need for our association is greater than ever.”

MHURA is also working on electing a board of directors that will compliment its four executives, including association president and local business owner Sounantha Boss.

For Boss, the January meeting is a return to the same event space where she rallied hundreds of residents frustrated over skyrocketing utility bills and put public pressure on the city to provide financial relief.


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