Utility rates could soon be changing for Saskatchewan customers.
On Friday morning, SaskPower and SaskEnergy teamed up to announce the Crowns are applying to adjust their rates. While SaskPower is applying to increase its rates, SaskEnergy is proposing an overall decrease.
It could mean the average homeowner would pay another $4.30 per month in 2016.
SaskPower CEO Mike Marsh said they’re asking for a five per cent increase to take effect July 1, with another five per cent increase to follow on Jan. 1, 2017. That translates to an average of $6 more per month each time.
“SaskPower keeps setting records for the amount of power needed at one time, year-over-year,” explained Marsh. “We know rate increases are not something people enjoy but we are doing what we can to minimize the impact.”
He said besides demand rising, infrastructure is aging and needs to be replaced.
That increase would be offset slightly by what SaskEnergy is asking for, which would be an overall adjustment that would see customers saving about $1.70 per month. The application asks for a reduction to its commodity rate to $3.65/Gigajoule (GJ) from $4.30/GJ, and an increase for the delivery service rates of about $3.50 per month. SaskEnergy’s proposal would take effect Nov. 1.
The Crowns said the joint announcement for the two separate applications was made simultaneously to better allow customers to budget for their utility bills going forward.
Marsh added there was a tight deadline to get in front of the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel after the election to get these rates implemented by the desired dates. He said it was coincidence both Crowns needed to ask for adjustments, adding it was for different reasons.
The application goes to the Rate Review Panel, which will approve or recommend changes to the proposal. The government has final approval of all rate changes.
NDP Blames Smart Meters, Carbon Capture Facility
The news of SaskPower wanting two increases is disappointing, but not surprising for NDP Crown Investments Corporation critic Carla Beck.
“Despite our repeatedly raising concerns about what the impact of projects like the Boundary Dam and the smart meter fiasco would be on the people of Saskatchewan, and the government’s repeated denials that would have an impact, I think that we’re seeing today who is going to be on the hook for that mismanagement.”
Beck said this is more bad news for many in the province who are already facing increased uncertainty and increasing layoffs.