SaskEnergy shows decline in net income, no plans to hike gas rates

Saskatchewan Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre. SaskEnergy recorded income before unrealized market value adjustments of $66 million in 2019-20. Adrian Raaber / Global News

SaskEnergy’s bottom lime took a significant hit in 2019-20 when compared to years past.

Outlined in its annual report released on Tuesday, SaskEnergy reported a consolidated net income of $43 million-$66 million before unrealized market value adjustments.

In 2018-19, that number was $166 million.

“It’s much more in the normal traditional range. In 2018-19, it was an extremely unique year… it was a bitterly cold winter,” said Bronwyn Eyre, minister responsible for SaskEnergy.

Read more: Federal carbon tax cost SaskPower customers $83M in 2019-20, says annual report

“There was also a surge in industrial demand that year and there was the sale of non-core assets that year.”

Despite a decline in net income, SaskEnergy declared a dividend of $24 million to the province.

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With the fiscal year concluding at the end of March, Eyre said the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the downturn in oil won’t fully be seen until the 2020-21 annual report.

“It’s difficult now to quantify the impact… capital budgets, capital plans will have to be adjusted, most likely, going forward,” Eyre said.

“Certainly, there will be no impact from SaskEnergy’s perspective on safety (and) integrity plans.”

As for a potential hike in gas rates, Eyre said customers have no need to worry.

“In light of everything that we are facing, no rate change is being contemplated this year because we feel that’s the responsible thing to do at this time,” Eyre said.

Read more: New natural gas usage record set in Saskatchewan

“(And) to provide that security for residential customers among others.”

Despite the decrease in net income, transportation and storage revenue is listed at $187 million, a record high and $24 million more than year ago.

The record for daily natural gas consumption among customers was broke on three-consecutive days with a peak of 1.55 petajoules on Jan. 15.

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SaskEnergy invested $330 million into expanding natural gas storage in the province along with delivery capacity for customers.

Its commodity rate is at $2.57, its lowest in 20 years.

“SaskEnergy continues to demonstrate its commitment to its customers and to enhancing the quality of life for Saskatchewan residents,” Eyre said.

Read more: Coronavirus: SaskPower suspends active collections, holds off residential disconnections

“In 2019-20, SaskEnergy also provided more than $1 million in rebates to residential and commercial customers who installed energy-efficient natural gas furnaces and heating systems.”

Other operational highlights listed in the 2019-20 annual report include the completion of a new 62-kilometre South Saskatoon transmission gas line while distributing 1,000 carbon monoxide alarms in various communities across Saskatchewan.

SaskEnergy also signed an Indigenous Engagement Charter to strengthen relationships with Indigenous peoples, businesses and communities.

In its report, the corporation said it received a 91 per cent rate for overall residential customer satisfaction, a five-year high.

The full report can be found here.

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