June 17, 2014 8:18 am

Saskatchewan natural gas rates set to jump 15 per cent

SaskEnergy approved for natural gas rate hike, still needs to be approved by Saskatchewan government.

File / Global News

REGINA – Natural gas prices in Saskatchewan could jump by almost 15 per cent on July 1 after the rate review panel gave SaskEnergy the go-ahead to increase prices.

The panel approved a price increase from $3.82 a gigajoule to $4.84 a gigajoule, which works out to about $9.57 monthly for an average home.

It’s the first increase in six years.

SaskEnergy said the increase was needed after a prolonged cold winter forced the Crown utility to buy natural gas at market prices higher than the commodity rate.

The panel stated SaskEnergy needs to apply for increases sooner so deficits don’t grow as large before rates are revised and suggested a policy that would trigger a rate application if the surplus or deficit in the gas cost variance account (GCVA) exceeds $20 million.

The deficit in the GCVA, which is the amount consumers underpaid because of rising gas prices since the last rate application, is currently projected at $34 million

The hike still needs to be approved by the provincial cabinet.

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