SaskPower is offering a one-time relief program to community rinks in Saskatchewan between March 1 and Sept. 1, waiving a portion of their power bills.
The Community Rink Relief Program waives all demand charges for eligible rinks. Rinks are still on the hook for the power they use, their basic monthly charge, and applicable taxes.
“In small towns in Saskatchewan the rink is often sort of the center of activity. It’s the hub of activity, whether it be a curling rink or a hockey rink,” the minister responsible for SaskPower, Don Morgan, said.
Morgan told Global News people often use the rink for social events such as weddings and funerals.
The government heard from a number of rinks that it was too expensive to keep the power running during the off-season.
“We think it’s just the right thing to do,” Morgan said about the relief program.
Morgan added that for those who are going to rinks, to make sure they wear a mask and keep their distance from others.
SaskPower said some commercial and industrial customers pay a demand charge because they typically use a lot of power over a short period of time.
“The charge covers the cost of SaskPower having that extra generation capacity in reserve in case the business needs it,” a statement from SaskPower read.
SaskPower explained that ice rinks use a lot of electricity when their plants are running.
To be eligible for this program, a rink must be an ice skating or curling rink that is community-owned, non-profit, and operated by a local municipality or First Nations community.
Morgan said rinks who are interested should contact SaskPower who will give them a form to fill out.
SaskPower anticipates the average rink will save about $1,600 per month while operating, and approximately $330 per month once shut down for the season. The crown corporation expects to invest $700,000 in this program.
–With files from Brady Ratzlaff