SaskEnergy’s investment in the “know-before-you dig” campaign appears to be showing positive results.
The Crown corporation’s annual report released Tuesday shows a 3.5 per cent reduction in damage to transmission lines.
SaskEnergy has more than 85,000 kilometres of pipelines across the province and the damage is both costly to repair and a major safety concern.
Roughly $109 million was dedicated to ensuring transmission lines were protected and the number of incidents has been reduced by 37 per cent since 2013.
SaskEnergy has also been working on projects to move transmission lines out of major centres while increasing capacity.
“SaskEnergy is making significant investments in expanded pipeline capacity and in the additional gas supply needed to fill those lines, in order to meet rising customer demands for natural gas into the future,” Minister responsible for SaskEnergy Bronwyn Eyre said. “The company’s focus on reliability means most homes or businesses have never had an unplanned loss of natural gas service, something we all depended upon this past winter when three new natural gas consumption records were set during cold snaps.”
SaskEnergy added more than 3,700 new customers to its distribution system, bringing its total customer base to more than 394,000. SaskEnergy has added more than 58,000 new customers during the last 10 years. At the same time, a continued focus on efficiency gains resulted in $4.2 million in cost reductions throughout 2017-18, bringing efficiency savings to $48 million since 2009.
And that could mean good news for customers.
If the finances remain the same, SaskEnergy is considering a 10 per cent drop in commodity rates this fall. It will have to apply to Rate Review Panel to do so. The delivery rate will remain the same for now.
Annual transmission volumes totalled 350 petajoules (PJ) — a seven per cent increase of 24 PJ — from a year ago. This growth was supported by significant system investments to connect customers in a wide range of key industries including power production and enhanced oil recovery.
“Natural gas is the fuel of choice for new businesses and homes, as well as for major industry, and by providing the pipeline infrastructure for these investments, SaskEnergy will continue to support strong economic growth for Saskatchewan,” Eyre said.
The Crown’s annual report can be found online.