People in Saskatchewan should get ready to put some more money on their power bills every month after two rate hikes have been approved.
On Monday, the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel confirmed a 5 per cent increase that had already gone into effect on Jul. 1 this year, which saw residential bills rise by about $5.05 a month.
SaskPower had also asked for a rate increase of 5 per cent for Jan. 1, 2017, but the panel recommended that be reduced to 3.5 per cent – which would increase residential bills by an average of $3.71.
In its application, SaskPower said it needs the increases to update and refurbish existing infrastructure, and to build new generation and distribution capacity.
The panel said in a news release, that it recommended the second increase be lower to soften the blow to consumers of two increases in six months.
The panel made several other recommendations to SaskPower:
- that it limit the increase in Operating, Maintenance and Administration costs, on a per customer basis, to half of inflation
- that it prepare public versions of its load forecast, cost of service study, and resource plan as part of future rate applications
- that it include increased stakeholder participation in the next cost of service study methodology
- and that it rebalance rates between customer classes and demand and energy charges based on average unit costs in the cost of service study
Since 2013, there has been at least one rate increase a year, so that as of Jan.1, 2017, residential customers will be paying about $22.76 more every month than they were in 2012.
Jan. 1, 2013 – 5 per cent, $4-6 a month
Jan. 1, 2014 – 5.5 per cent, $5
Jan. 1, 2015 – 3 per cent, $2.30
Sept. 1, 2015 – 2 per cent, $1.70
Jul. 1, 2016 – 5 per cent, $5.05
Jan. 1, 2017 – 3.5 per cent, $3.71
— With files from Lisa Schick.