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SaskPower applying for 5% rate increase

SaskPower CEO Mike Marsh announces a 5 per cent rate increase application. David Baxter/Global News

SaskPower is applying to raise rates by five per cent effective March 1, 2018. The Crown corporation estimates this will add an additional $6 per month to the average residential bill.

SaskPower CEO Mike Marsh said this increase is necessary for meeting a growing demand, and due to the need for continued infrastructure investment in modernizing the province’s power grid.

“We endeavor at every one of these rate applications to maintain a prudent rate increase. We’ve been consistent in that line for the past number of years,” Marsh said.

“We’ve maintained regular moderate rate increases, and we’re doing this to ease the impact on customers.”

The previous two rate increases were five per cent in July, 2016 and 3.5 per cent in January, 2017. SaskPower originally applied to have a five per cent increase in January.

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READ MORE: SaskPower rate increase coming next month

Major capital investments SaskPower is currently working on include the transmission wood pole remediation program, valued at $320 million over the next five years. The $680.5 million Chinook Power Station build is also in progress near Swift Current. It is expected to be in service in 2019.

The 2016-17 SaskPower annual report shows the Crown invested $886 million in the province’s electrical system. Capital investment is forecasted at $1.12 billion in 2017-18.

Marsh added that SaskPower is taking a reduction in their net earnings in an effort to reduce rate increases in order to fund these major projects.

“As long as the province continues to grow, investments will need to be made. We’re going to look forward to the next few years with regular, moderate rate increases when they’re necessary,” Marsh said.

“We see a couple of years in the next five to 10 where we don’t need rate increases, but the infrastructure needs to be rebuilt and that’s going to be a continually investment well into the future.”

These regular increases won’t necessarily be five per cent. Marsh said their forecasts anticipate a few years with two to three per cent increases.

Members of the public are able to submit their comments on the proposed increase to the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel. The public review period closes Jan. 11, 2018.

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