Scott Brown TGE Blog


Due to a growing demand, with 8,000 new customers last year alone, Saskpower is looking for a huge rate increase for all users. This rate increase is still to go in front of the rate review panel to make sure the process and numbers are done correctly. If it checks out, the rates will first increase beginning on July 1st, 2016. Then again on January 1st, 2017, each increase requested at 5% for a total of 10.25% increase due to increase compound. Though the review panel may not make recommendations until October, The Crown utility will ask cabinet — which has final say on utility rate changes — for an interim increase that comes into effect July 1, with the understanding this could be adjusted after the panel makes its decision.

This means the average saskpower customer will have to pay an additional $6 this year, as well as another $6 added to that for next year. Not only does this increase compensate for the growing customer base, but it is also needed to rebuild its electrical distribution system, much of which was constructed between 50 and 70 years ago. This year alone, it plans to do $990 million in capital spending.

NDP Crown Corporations critic, Carla Beck, says it isn’t just these reasons that Saskpower is charging more. She believes it is also due to the cost of the Boundary Dam 3 power plant upgrade and associated carbon capture project, plus “the smart-meter fiasco.”

In 2015, SaskPower rates rose by 3.0 per cent on Jan. 1 and another 2.0 per cent Sept. 1. Before that there were increases of 5.5 per cent (in 2014) and 5.0 per cent in 2013, with no increases in 2011 and 2012.

Saskpower president Mike Marsh added that SaskPower, with its heavy requirement for money for capital spending, hasn’t been required to pay a dividend to its shareholder, the provincial government “for a number of years.”

SaskPower work over the next few years will include a $245-million project to extend the life of the E.B. Campbell hydroelectric generating station near Nipawin, $260 million on transmission lines, including one from Pasqua to Swift Current; $509 million to connect new distribution customers, $108 million on increasing system reliability, new transmission lines to serve the Saskatoon area, underground cable maintenance and replacing old transformers, and work on inspecting and replacing some of the 1.1 million power poles in the province. Marsh also referred to improvements to handle renewable energy flowing into the system.

This spike in electrical bills are becoming a custom over the years, and with only a (possible) one year gap between the next scheduled increase, it is far from slowing down. This constant increase in bills is just another reason to convert to solar energy, so you are not forced to potentially pay for things such as a flawed meter situation.

Original article can be found HERE

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