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.
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