Saskatchewan residents will soon see a 3.5 percent increase in their monthly power bills.
The provincial government recently accepted a recommendation from the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel suggesting power rates should be increased.
SaskPower, a provincial crown corporation, had initially requested a five percent increase.
The 3.5 percent rate hike approved by the province will take effect March 1 and will represent an increase of approximately $4 per month on the average residential power bill.
Since early 2007, the province has approved 10 rate increases at SaskPower, totaling nearly 45 percent.
Cumulatively, a Saskatchewan consumer who paid $200 a month for power Jan. 1, 2007, will now be paying nearly $310 a month effective March 1, based on similar power consumption.
“Every year, SaskPower is keeping up with new records of power consumption, while working to keep power rates as low as possible,” said Dustin Duncan, the minister responsible for SaskPower.
“They face an important challenge to maintain and grow our power grid. With their revised fiscal forecasts during the rate review period, government agrees with the rate review panel that SaskPower can meet this challenge in 2018 with a (3.5 percent) increase.
“We will continue to challenge SaskPower, and all government agencies, to do more with less, and without compromising service to Saskatchewan homes and businesses.”
In a news release, SaskPower said revenue generated by the rate increase would be invested in “major maintenance and growth projects” aimed at reducing the “number and duration of power outages” and modernizing the provincial power grid.
Network improvements will help SaskPower reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, it said.
“The power has to be on when and where we need it,” said SaskPower president Mike Marsh.
The 3.5 percent rate increase is expected to boost SaskPower’s revenues by about $86 million per year.