Qulliq Energy Corporation moves Nunavut to territory-wide electricity rate

Qulliq Energy Corporation moves Nunavut to territory-wide electricity rate

The Qulliq Energy Corporation has moved Nunavut to a territory-wide electricity rate in which all communities will pay the same amount for power.

Before, they all paid the same amount up to a point thanks to a government subsidy, and then different amounts past that point.

Non-government residential customers will now pay 61.52 cents per kilowatt hour across Nunavut, with the government subsidizing half the bill up to 700 kilowatt hours from April to September, and 1,000 kilowatt hours from October to March.

The new rate means customers in all communities except Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet will pay less for their electricity when they exceed those subsidized limits. The new rate represents a 5.1 per cent increase in Iqaluit and a 1.5 per cent increase in Rankin Inlet.

Rates for non-government commercial customers moved to 50.74 cents per kWh — a decrease in all communities except Iqaluit, which saw a 5.1 per cent jump. To make up the difference, the power corporation hiked government commercial rates in several communities, including by nearly 75 per cent in Iqaluit and 48 per cent in Rankin Inlet.

The power corporation previously said it was facing a $6.6-million shortfall for the 2022-23 fiscal year under the old rates.

WATCH | Nunavut's electricity rate changes explained:

Special rate for city-owned properties in Iqaluit

One of the major concerns when the power corporation first proposed the rate adjustment to the Utility Rates Review Council back in May was the impact on the City of Iqaluit, whose municipal buildings — like City Hall, the aquatic centre and the hockey rinks — fell under the "government commercial" rate.

Those rates, which also include all the Government of Nunavut office buildings, jumped nearly 75 per cent in Iqaluit.

At the time, now-deputy mayor Kyle Sheppard warned of a six per cent hike in property taxes to make up the shortfall.

Mike Zimmer/CBC News
Mike Zimmer/CBC News

Sheppard said the power corporation was receptive to the city's concerns during the consultation window, and ultimately proposed a special "municipal tax-based" rate to the utility rate council for city-owned properties, matching the 50.74 cents per kWh for non-government commercial customers, which was ultimately accepted by the minister.

Iqaluit is the only Nunavut municipality which collects, and operates on, property tax from residents.

"Power rates are a concern across the entire territory," Sheppard said. "This new structure is very fair across the entire territory. And with the special treatment for the city of Iqaluit as a tax-based community, we get to play our part in that fairness in a way that treats us equitably as well."

Sheppard said the 5.1 per cent hike to the city's power bills was able to be absorbed in its property tax increases for 2023, which city council passed last month. Government of Nunavut property taxes were increased by two per cent, and one per cent for all others.

"There's not going to be a rate shock to the City of Iqaluit with this, thankfully," Sheppard said.