News & Events

Check this section for Yukon Energy's latest news and coming events.

If you have questions about any of the information posted here, please contact:

Janet Patterson
Manager, Communications
Yukon Energy Corporation
Phone: (867) 393-5333

News, Energy Supply, Regulatory, Reliability
Dec 04, 2018  Comment

Responding to Concerns About the Aishihik Relicensing

You may have heard news stories about concerns by the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations about the process to relicense the Aishihik hydro facility. We feel we owe it to Yukoners to explain the situation from our point of view. Aishihik hydro is a key power plant in Yukon’s renewable energy system. Twenty-five percent of the hydro produced by Yukon Energy comes from the Aishihik plant. In winter, as much as 50 percent of our renewable energy comes from Aishihik. The Aishihik facility reduces our reliance on diesel and LNG, which decreases GHG emissions and fuel costs. About 2 ½ years ago, CAFN and Yukon Energy entered into a protocol agreement to cooperatively plan for the relicensing of the Aishihik power plant. The license expires at the end of next year. Working together, we established: A steering committee (one member each from CAFN and Yukon Energy) to oversee the work and provide high level guidance. An advisory committee of CAFN, Yukon Energy, various government departments and non-governmental organizations. It made recommendations on interests, values, and technical matters. A Champagne and Aishihik Community Advisory Committee that met frequently to provide information to the project and engage with CAFN citizens. We also provided funding to CAFN for a traditional knowledge project that included archival and oral history research, as well as map biographies and oral history interviews. CAFN and Yukon Energy jointly selected a consulting team to conduct a comprehensive series of field studies, research, and analysis over several years regarding the environment and people in the Aishihik area. This information was considered alongside other monitoring and research information that has been collected in the project area over the last 40 years.  CAFN citizens participated directly in most of the field studies and research. Yukon Energy has contributed more than $600,000 to CAFN over the last 2.5 years on this project. We have worked with CAFN in good faith in an attempt to agree on a proposal that balances energy needs with preserving the long-term health and well-being of the land, water, and people. We listened to their concerns, and this has shaped what we plan to include in a project proposal to YESAB. For instance, we have agreed on monitoring and adaptive management to reduce winter flooding and erosion downstream from the Aishihik plant. Another change that both parties agreed to is to remove aesthetic flows at Otter Falls, something that is not expected to have any adverse effects on fish. We have been working together on monitoring of fish and wildlife at Aishihik Lake. What we have not been able to agree on is the operating range of the lake. Yukon Energy and CAFN held a workshop in early September where we had agreed we would discuss a variety of options for the operating range of Aishihik Lake. However at that workshop it became very clear to us that for CAFN, the only viable option was to return the lake to levels seen before the dam was built. We feel we cannot do that, for a number of reasons. First of all, the science shows that the lake and the fish in the lake are healthy. There are no key drivers that we can point to in the scientific research that convince us we should significantly change the lake operation. Also, if we did not have Aishihik and its water storage, we estimate that a new replacement generating plant would cost more than $100 million. In addition, if we returned the lake to levels before the dam was built, YEC would need to burn more than $10 million/year in LNG and diesel in the short term, in order to make up for the lost energy. This would emit an additional 33 kilotons of GHGs annually relative to our current emissions. Note that currently, our entire operation only creates 5 kilotons of GHGs each year. We must take the interests of all our ratepayers and Yukoners into consideration in making this decision. Since our water use license expires at the end of next year, and since we can’t operate our Aishihik plant without a new license, time is of the essence. We are already cutting it very close in terms of being able to get through both the YESAA and the Yukon Water Board processes. For all these reasons, we have decided we must move forward on our own with a YESAA proposal late this year or early next. We want to continue working with CAFN, but we simply can’t agree to returning the lake to natural levels.

News, Energy Supply, Environment, Regulatory, Reliability
Mar 02, 2015  4

Our 2015 Work in the Southern Lakes

As you are likely aware, Yukon Energy has spent the last several years doing a great deal of research and engaging with Yukoners on this concept for enhanced water storage to increase peak hydro power generation. We want to bring you up to date on our work and tell you about our 2015 plans. First though, some background for those of you who may not be familiar with the project: during the summer and fall, we have to spill water at our Whitehorse facility because we don’t have the ability under our current water license to store it in the Southern Lakes system. However in winter there isn’t enough water to meet the demand and Yukon Energy must at times resort to using diesel to meet peak loads. Burning diesel is costly and emits greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The Southern Lakes Concept proposes a change to our water license so we could store some of that water that is currently spilled, for use in the winter. It would involve a change to the existing Full Supply Level (the controlled maximum lake level stipulated in our water license) of 30 centimetres for a limited period in the late fall, and change of 10 centimetres to the Low Supply Level during the spring. In many years the water level of the Southern Lakes naturally exceeds this conceptual full supply level. The Benefits The Southern Lakes Concept could contribute about seven GWh/year of low cost energy, during the winter months when we need it most. This is sufficient to power about 600 to 800 homes, and save Yukoners up to $2.3 million a year at today’s diesel prices (up to $2-million annually of blended LNG/diesel at today’s prices), helping to keep electricity rates affordable. This renewable energy project would reduce GHG emissions by up to 5,600 tonnes a year (diesel) or up to 4,900 tonnes a year (blended LNG/diesel). Yukon Energy is looking at other renewable options too, but squeezing the most out of our existing assets should be, and is, the first energy supply option we consider. It's important to point out that there are already naturally occurring erosion and groundwater issues in the Southern Lakes. The mitigation work we would do as part of this project would address those issues systematically and effectively, providing a long term benefit to Southern Lakes residents. In terms of our 2015 plans: over the next four or five months, we will do the following: Meet one-on-one with Southern Lakes residents who could see groundwater or erosion impacts as a result of this project to discuss possible mitigation measures; Continued engagement with the affected First Nations; and Continued discussions with other stakeholders. Yukon Energy has undertaken many studies on the potential impacts of this project on wildlife, wetlands, shorelines and sub-surface structures. These studies – in combination with the focused engagement process we are doing - will inform a decision as to whether we would move ahead into the regulatory phase. Permitting would involve an amendment to our current water use license and an evaluation of potential environmental and socio-economic effects under YESAA. That work would likely take a year and a half to two years, so the earliest we can see this going ahead as an approved project would be in 2017.

Jun 24, 2013  Comment

The Latest Utilities Board Decision and What it Means For You

You may recall that last year, Yukon Energy asked the Yukon Utilities Board for permission to raise rates by just over 13 percent over two years (2012 and 2013).  We now have the final decision by the YUB. The board has granted us an 11.01 percent increase over those two years, to take effect on July 1st.  It will show up on your bill as Rider J. You may also remember that while the YUB considered our application, it allowed us to charge an “interim rate”. Effective July 1st, 2012, that rate was 6.4 percent, and then in January of this year we were allowed to charge an additional 3.75 percent on an interim basis. On July 1st the 11.01 percent rate replaces those two interim riders. Now that we know our approved rates, there must also be a ‘true up’ to make up for the difference between what we charged on an interim basis and what the approved final rate increase is for those two years. That ‘true up’, which amounts to just over 3.6 percent, will show up on your bill as Rider R . It will be there from July 1st of this year to the end of June of next year. So what will this look like on your power bills? It will be different for each household, since no two households use the same amount of electricity each month. But as an example, we’ll use the amount of 1,000 kWh a month, which is a fairly typical monthly usage. Before July of 2012, you would have paid $118.26. This includes all the charges, the GST, and the Interim Electrical Rebate, which gives you a credit of $26.60. As of July 2012, you would have paid $127.40 (based on the premise that you used the same amount of electricity). This increase reflects the 2012 interim rate allowed by the Yukon Utilities Board. In January of this year, your bill for the same amount of power would have been $130.36 and includes the 2013 interim rate allowed by the Utilities Board. As of July 1st of this year, you will pay $136.76 for 1,000 kWh of electricity. This includes the YUB-approved final rate plus the ‘true up’ explained earlier in this article. The true-up rider will end at the end of June 2014. Clearly no one is happy about having to pay higher power bills. But just as costs for other services (groceries, housing costs, vehicles, etc.) have all gone up over the years, so must the price charged for electricity, since we too are facing higher operating costs. This may be of little consolation to you, but in spite of these increases, Yukoners still pay the lowest power rates in the North, and we are on par with several Canadian provinces, and pay less for electricity than Albertans do. If you’d like to learn more about why this increase was necessary, please read this earlier blog post. As always, we are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Nov 15, 2012  Comment

Before Our Regulator

For the past three days, Yukon Energy officials have been before our regulator, the Yukon Utilities Board (YUB), to answer questions about why we are requesting a rate increase for 2012 and 2013. Truth be told, this quasi-judicial process can be pretty technical and the average person would not be faulted for not grasping 100 percent of the concepts discussed. However that doesn’t mean these hearings are not worth attending. They are open to the public and they provide groups and individuals with an opportunity to ask a wide variety of questions related to our funding request (you do need to register as an intervenor to be able to ask questions at these hearings). These sessions allow you to have a better understanding of the direction in which Yukon Energy is heading, and why. The more you arm yourself with information, the better able you are to draw informed conclusions about whether Yukon Energy is addressing the territory’s electricity needs in the best ways possible. Here’s how the process works in Yukon. A utility (in this case it was Yukon Energy but Yukon Electrical Company Limited must follow the same process) files an application with the YUB asking for rate/regulation changes. The application includes evidence in support of the request(s) the utility is making. The Board then issues an order setting the dates for the hearing, and outlining significant milestones along the way, such as the date for filing information requests and responses. The Board will also outline how the public is to be notified about the hearing. It’s usually a period of several months between the time the application is filed and the start of the actual hearing. In our case, we filed the application in April of this year, and the hearings didn’t take place until this week. For less complicated matters the time period may be shorter, depending on the Board’s schedule. In the time before the hearing, anyone who wants to be an intervenor must make their request to the YUB. Once the intervenor list is finalized, both the intervenors and the YUB can ask the utility for information in writing about certain aspects of the application. This time round, Yukon Energy received more than 1,000 requests for information, which we answered in the weeks leading up to the hearings. By the time the hearing date arrives, alot of relevent information is already ‘in the record’. The hearing itself gives the YUB and intervenors a chance to further question Yukon Energy. During this week’s hearing, the YUB and five interveners had questions for Yukon Energy representatives. The intervenors included the Yukon Electrical Company Limited, the City of Whitehorse, the Utilities Consumers’ Group, the Yukon Conservation Society, and Leading Edge. With the hearings behind us, the YUB will now take all the information it has received and evidence it has heard, and issue an Order regarding our rate increase request. We likely will not see an Order from the Board until late winter or spring of next year. If this has peaked your interest and you want to read the transcripts of the proceedings, they are on the Yukon Utilities Board’s website.

Nov 05, 2012  Comment

Next Week’s Public Hearings

You may recall that in April of this year we filed an application with the Yukon Utilities Board (YUB) for our first retail rate increase since 1999. We asked for a 6.4 percent increase for all customer classes (residential, commercial, industrial and government) in 2012 and an additional 6.5 percent raise in 2013. The increases would impact both Yukon Energy and Yukon Electrical customers. The YUB is currently reviewing our request, although a decision won’t come until sometime in 2013. In the meantime, it has allowed a 6.4 percent interim rate increase for 2012 and a 3.75 percent interim rate increase starting on January 1, 2013. Once the Utilities Board makes its ruling, these charges will be adjusted based on the final outcome (in other words, customers may be refunded some of the money if the YUB only gives us a portion of the increase we have asked for). The next step in this process takes place next week. The YUB is holding public hearings into our rate application. They are being held next Monday to Wednesday (Nov. 12 - 14) at the High Country Inn in Whitehorse. Any members of the public are welcome to attend the hearings as observers (official intervenors needed to notify the YUB of their intentions several months ago). While the proceedings can be technical in nature, we still encourage anyone who is interested to come to the hearings, as we think it will give you a better understanding of what we are trying to achieve and why we feel we need a rate increase. Obviously no one likes a rate increase, and over the last 13 years we’ve done everything possible to keep electricity costs low. In fact we were even able to secure a 2.47 percent rate decrease for our customers when the Minto mine came on-line. However there are several reasons why we believe a rate increase is necessary at this time: •Increased energy consumption in all sectors has strained Yukon Energy’s power grid, and has depleted the corporation’s surplus hydro. While our new hydro assets (Mayo B and the Aishihik third turbine) have helped address this problem, expensive diesel generation is still needed to supply an increasing share of the new demand. •The cost of keeping aging infrastructure efficient, up-to-date and safe for Yukoners has increased faster than electricity rates. •Inflation: thirteen years is a long time to go without a rate increase. In that time, salaries have gone up and the cost of our materials keeps climbing. The cost of living in Yukon has gone up more than 20 percent since the late 1990s. •Funding tomorrow’s energy: finding sufficient clean, affordable and reliable energy requires years of public and stakeholder consultation, research, engineering and project approval. All this work comes with a price tag. We hope to see you next week. In the meantime we are happy to try to answer any questions you may have about this process.

Jul 03, 2012  Comment

Reminder of Interim Rate Increase

A reminder that you will notice a 6.4 percent increase in your electric bills starting this month. Earlier this year, we applied to the Yukon Utilities Board for a rate increase of 6.4 percent for 2012 and a further 6.5 percent in 2013. We asked that while the YUB considers our request, we be allowed to put in place an interim increase so that we could start to address an expected revenue shortfall. The Utilities Board agreed. That interim increase will show up on your bills as Rider J. Oral hearings into our application are scheduled for this fall, and a decision should come late this year or early next. Depending on what the YUB determines our revenue requirement should be, we will either need to refund some of the money collected through Rider J, or recover (over a period of time determined by the Utilities Board) some money as per the approved rate. Obviously no one likes a rate increase, but there are several reasons why one is necessary at this time: •Increased energy consumption in all sectors has strained Yukon Energy’s power grid, and has depleted the corporation’s surplus hydro. While Yukon Energy’s new hydro assets (Mayo B and the Aishihik third turbine) have helped address this problem, expensive diesel generation is still needed to supply an increasing share of the new demand. •The cost of keeping aging infrastructure efficient, up-to-date and safe for Yukoners has increased faster than electricity rates. •Inflation: thirteen years is a long time to go without a rate increase. Meanwhile, salaries have gone up and the cost of our materials keeps climbing. The cost of living in Yukon has gone up more than 20 percent since the late 1990s. •Funding tomorrow’s energy: finding sufficient clean, affordable and reliable energy requires years of public and stakeholder consultation, research, engineering and project approval. All this work comes with a price tag. We invite you to read more about the need for an increase and what we’ve done over the last 13 years to keep costs low. As always, please contact us if you have questions or comments.