A merchant notices that his water tax bill for 2012 is twice as high as the previous ones.  He complains to the City.

In March 2013, the City notes that the water consumption showing on this water meter is the same as in November 2012: clearly, the water meter stopped working and must be replaced.

Once the new meter is installed, in June 2013, the water consumption measures drop drastically.  The City adjusts the water bill for the first months of 2013, based on the consumption measured by the new meter.  It refuses, however, to also readjust the 2012 bill.

The citizen asks for our intervention.

According to the City, it is almost impossible for a defective meter to show a consumption which is higher than the actual one.  In its opinion, therefore, the quantities shown on the old meter must have been consumed.  The City believes that the high 2012 consumption must have been caused by an unusual event such as an increase in trade activity, a broken pipe, a water leak.

The City did not conduct an investigation to show such a cause or specify the nature of the meter’s defect.  On the other hand, the citizen insists that no unusual event had occurred in 2012.

  • The OdM analyses the applicable rules. We find a provision stating that when “a meter is defective, the account is established based on the average consumption anterior or ulterior to the meter defect”. (translation)


  • In the OdM’s opinion, the facts on record reasonably suggest that the meter was already defective in November 2012. As a result, this regulatory provision should apply to the 2012 bill as well.


  • After analysis, the City accepts our conclusion. The merchant’s water bills are reduced for 2012 and 2013, based on his average consumption in 2013 and 2014.


  • A total amount of $8,300 is reimbursed.

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