Sask. government approves 4% SaskPower rate increases for 2022, 2023

·2 min read
SaskPower customers will see a four per cent increase on their bills in September, followed by another four per cent increase in April 2023. (Bryan Eneas/CBC - image credit)
SaskPower customers will see a four per cent increase on their bills in September, followed by another four per cent increase in April 2023. (Bryan Eneas/CBC - image credit)

People in Saskatchewan will see their power bills rise this fall.

The Saskatchewan Party government announced Friday it had accepted a recommendation from the province's rate review panel to raise SaskPower rates.

Customers will see a four per cent increase on their bills starting this September, and another four per cent beginning April 2023 — increases the Crown electrical utility asked the panel for in February.

Each increase will mean a roughly $5 monthly hike for residential homeowners and a $12 monthly increase for farm customers, the province says.

In a news release, the minister responsible for SaskPower said the rate increase decision "is not taken lightly," and follows "a thorough review" by rate review panel.

Don Morgan said global events have led to "a significant rise in the price of natural gas."

Natural gas is SaskPower's largest generation source, with 42 per cent of the province's electricity coming from natural gas-fuelled facilities, Friday's news release says.

That means the utility "requires additional revenue to maintain reliable operations," said Morgan.

SaskPower said it expects its reliance on natural gas to grow, with the federal government having pledged to phase out coal-powered generation in Canada by 2030.

The Crown corporation said natural gas prices are largely driving increases in fuel and purchased power expenses. Those expenses are expected to grown from $715 million in 2020-21 to nearly $1.1 billion by 2023-24, an increase of more than 50 per cent increase over three years.

SaskPower also said some of the increase will go toward renewable power generation. The power generator has set a target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Meanwhile, NDP SaskPower critic Aleana Young condemned the government's decision to raise rates as people and businesses in the province struggle with inflation.

Announcing the increase "on a summer day before the long weekend is a cowardly move from [Premier] Scott Moe and his cabinet," Young said in a news release.

The last time SaskPower increased its rates was four years ago.

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