The Yukon Utilities Board (YUB) has approved the first stage of our 2021 rate increase proposal. Starting July 1, 2021, two-thirds of our proposed 11.5% rate increase (or 7.7%) will be applied to customer bills. As we had planned, this is the same day that Rider F, another line item on electricity bills, goes down to zero. The net impact of stage one is “0” — on average, Yukon residential customers won’t be paying more for their monthly electricity. Typical business customers will see their electricity bills actually go down.
As part of our 2021 General Rate Application (GRA), we proposed that the second and final stage of the 2021 increase (the remaining one-third) be applied on December 1, 2021 when the Yukon Energy 2017/18 GRA True-up line item is scheduled to come off electricity bills. The net impact of this increase on typical residential bills would be about 70 cents.
Any changes to electricity rates on December 1, 2021 must first be approved by the YUB before being applied to customer bills. The YUB’s review of our 2021 GRA is expected to continue in the coming months after the Battery Energy Storage System proceeding wraps up.
Being a Canadian leader in sustainable electricity requires ongoing investments in our electricity system. Between 2019 and 2021, we expect to invest more than $55 million in projects that are needed to meet future demands for clean energy, replace and refurbish the aging assets we already have, and deliver reliable electricity to Yukoners as new projects are built.
But we recognize that every dollar we spend is passed on to Yukoners in the form of electricity rates. Our Board of Directors and staff also understand that paying more for power can be hard for some Yukoners, especially during the COVID pandemic.
Our 2021 rate application asks for:
A summary of our rate application and answers to some frequently asked questions are below. View the full rate application, register as an intervenor or an interested party, and view all regulatory documents related to this proceeding at yukonutilitiesboard.yk.ca.
Think of Yukon’s electrical system as Yukon Energy’s “house”. It was built in the 1950s. Like any old house, it needs significant and unavoidable repairs and upgrades. In order to keep up with demand, especially during periods of peak demand in the dead of winter, it need also additions. And, like every other business, we’re facing steadily rising costs.
As a regulated utility, Yukoners pay what Yukon Energy pays to plan, build, operate and maintain Yukon’s power generation and transmission assets, and distribution equipment in the communities we directly serve. As we invest more in the electricity system and costs go up, so too must electricity rates.
Replacing and upgrading aging equipment
From 2019 through 2021, we will have spent more than $28 million to replace and refurbish assets that are at or near end-of-life.
Examples include our share of the Mayo to McQuesten Transmission Line Replacement Project, replacing one of the head gates and repairing two of the four penstocks at the Whitehorse hydro dam, refurbishing old transmission lines and implementing a new asset management system.
Meeting growing demands for power
Between 2018 and 2020, peaks demands for electricity grew by 17%. We also expect them to rise by another 40% by 2030 as Yukon grows and electricity is used more frequently for heating and transportation.
From 2019 through 2021, we will have spent more than $27 million planning and building the new supply projects needed to meet that peak demand with reliable sources of electricity.
Examples include uprating our Whitehorse Hydro #2 and Whitehorse Hydro #4 units to add capacity and generate more renewable electricity with the same amount of water, the addition of the third liquefied natural gas unit in Whitehorse, and installing the equipment needed to allow for the installation of rental diesels in Whitehorse and Faro.
Running our day-to-day business
Like other businesses, we’ve seen a steady rise in day-to-day costs of labour, materials and supplies. Increases in fuel prices alone account for 20% of additional costs we expect to incur between 2019 and 2021. Renting diesel generators each winter to protect Yukoners from prolonged power outages in case one of our large hydro units or transmission lines breaks has also contributed to higher annual operating costs.
Our Board of Directors and staff recognize that paying more for electricity can be hard from some Yukoners, especially during the COVID pandemic. That’s why we've worked hard to find a way for the rate increase to have little impact on electricity bills.
What our 2021 General Rate Application is proposing is a way for us to make the investments we need to replace aging assets and meet growing demands for electricity, while providing some bill stability for Yukoners, especially those on a fixed income.
We never lose sight that at the end of the day all costs we incur are passed on to Yukoners in the form of electricity rates. That’s why we’re always looking for opportunities to obtain government funding for the projects we undertake to minimize costs passed on to you. In 2019, we were successful in getting nearly $40 million in funding from the Government of Canada for our Peak Smart program, the Mayo to McQuesten Transmission Line Replacement Project and our new grid-scale battery.
Even with our proposed rate increase, electricity rates in Yukon remain the lowest in the North.
Yes. Yukon Energy and Yukoners will need to help pay for the renewable electricity future we all want and that is needed to reduce carbon emissions in the territory. With more than $500 million in investments needed over the next 10 years, our priority remains building partnerships and obtaining government funding to help keep rates affordable.
The best way for Yukoners to reduce their electricity bill is to reduce the amount of electricity they use. Visit inchargeyukon.ca for ideas.
You can view our rate application and register as an intervenor or interested party at yukonutilitiesboard.yk.ca. We'll also be hosting a public information session about our this rate application in early 2021. Information about the date, time and location will be posted here and on our Facebook and Twitter channels when details have been confirmed.