The City of Ottawa’s Finance Department will not be reading water meters due to the extremely cold weather forecast, and will instead be estimating the water portion of the utility bills, according to a city news release.

“Because of the frigid temperatures the city will be estimating water readings,” Scott Bird, the city’s director of finance, said. “This action is taken any time the weather turns as frigid as it has been lately as a way to protect the service to the property owners. When the weather is this cold, opening the lids to the water cans allows freezing air to plunge into the meter pit, which in turn freezes the meter, causing more hardship to the property owner and the city.”

Bird explained how the estimates are calculated.

“In the name of fairness, the city utilizes a formula based on the amount of water used during the same month during the previous year and water used during the most recent month this year to provide an estimate for a particular address,” Bird said. “If our estimates are over or understated, they will be made right on your next month’s bill.”

Customers who have a question about their bill can call City Hall at (785) 229-3600.