Federal carbon tax to appear on SaskPower, SaskEnergy bills starting April 1

Click to play video: 'Ottawa should delay collecting carbon tax until court decision: Moe' Ottawa should delay collecting carbon tax until court decision: Moe
WATCH ABOVE: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said Ottawa should halt its plan to collect carbon taxes until a panel of judges decides whether it has the constitutional power to do so – Feb 17, 2019

SaskPower and SaskEnergy customers will be paying more on their utility bills come April 1.

The Saskatchewan government said the federal carbon tax will result in a monthly increase of roughly $11 per month for the average residential user – $2 for power and $9 for natural gas – for the remainder of 2019.

READ MORE: Carbon tax is the smartest way to target rising emissions: Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Bronwyn Eyre, the minister responsible for SaskEnergy, said the increase could wipe out any reduction to natural gas commodity rates.

“Our government is currently reviewing a request by SaskEnergy to reduce natural gas commodity rates to their lowest level in 20 years, effective April 1,” Eyre said in a statement.

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“These savings would be wiped out by the Federal Liberals’ carbon tax, resulting in higher natural gas bills for homes and businesses.”

READ MORE: Sask. carbon tax case argues federal pollution price mechanism unconstitutional

The tax for residential users will go up each year, rising to $63 yearly in 2022 for power and roughly $54 yearly through 2022 for natural gas customers.

Industrial users will be paying on average $164,000 more for power in 2019, rising to $617,500 in 2022.

Saskatchewan government officials said the tax, which will be identified on bills as a federal carbon tax – needs to be applied despite the province’s challenge to the tax in court.

Premier Scott Moe said he has requested that the tax not be applied in Saskatchewan until a court decision has been reached.

Saskatchewan argues Ottawa’s plan is unconstitutional because it does not respect provincial sovereignty and will not be evenly applied across all jurisdictions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to visit Regina this week. A meeting with Premier Moe will not be on the agenda.

“I would ask again for the federal government to hold off and allow the court some time with respect to making their decision with the reference that we put in front of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal,” he said.

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“This is the right thing to do.”

READ MORE: Feds argue climate change is a national concern in Saskatchewan carbon tax case

A decision in the case is not expected for several months, and is expected to head to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Saskatchewan’s Opposition NDP leader, Ryan Meili, said Moe’s request for a delay pending the court ruling is reasonable. Meili did add that he sees the addition of “federal carbon tax” to utility bills as a political move on the provincial government’s part.

The federal government has accepted provisions of Saskatchewan’s Prairie Resilience when announcing the carbon tax framework, but still said all pollution needs to be priced.

Ottawa says the constitution gives it the power to impose a carbon price because climate change and greenhouse gas emissions are national concerns.

The federal price on pollution starts at a minimum of $20 a tonne and rises $10 annually until 2022.

The federal Liberal Party is set to air radio ads starting Tuesday morning in the four provinces that have not imposed a price on carbon emissions: Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick.

According to the ads, an average family of four will receive more than $600 in rebated this year in Saskatchewan.

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With files from The Canadian Press’ Stephanie Taylor

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