Swift Cur­rent to in­crease elec­tric­ity rates due to fed­eral car­bon tax

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBEN­BERG mlieben­[email protected]­t.com

Swift Cur­rent res­i­dents will pay more for elec­tric­ity use start­ing April 1 due to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment's plan to put a price on car­bon pol­lu­tion.

Coun­cil­lors ap­proved the car­bon pric­ing elec­tric­ity rate ad­just­ment at a reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing, March 11.

The fed­eral car­bon pol­lu­tion pric­ing sys­tem will be ap­plied to elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion in Saskatchew­an and SaskPower will pass on this car­bon tax to all cus­tomers.

Swift Cur­rent Light & Power there­fore rec­om­mended the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the car­bon pric­ing elec­tric­ity rate in­crease on April 1.

Light & Power res­i­den­tial cus­tomers will see an av­er­age in­crease of 1.7 per cent, which amounts to a monthly in­crease of about $1.10 for an apart­ment, $2.10 for an av­er­age home, and $3.05 for a large home.

All com­mer­cial cus­tomers in Swift Cur­rent, both small and medium busi­nesses and large com­mer­cial cus­tomers, will have an av­er­age in­crease of 2.3 per cent on their to­tal an­nual billing.

“Tech­ni­cally it’s a rate in­crease, although that rate in­crease is ded­i­cated to­wards pay­ing SaskPower so that they can pay the car­bon pric­ing that they are go­ing to have to pay to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment,” City Gen­eral Man­ager of In­fra­struc­ture and Op­er­a­tions Mitch Minken said af­ter the meet­ing. “It’s an out­put­based sys­tem, so it’s based on their emis­sions. Their coal emis­sions will be at a higher price than their nat­u­ral gas emis­sions and so on. So it will de­pend on how much they ac­tu­ally emit and how much they use in dif­fer­ent types of gen­er­a­tion.”

The car­bon pric­ing rate rider for SaskPower cus­tomers is based on the Crown cor­po­ra­tion's es­ti­mate of an­nual car­bon pric­ing re­cov­ery. Ac­cord­ing to Minken the City of Swift Cur­rent will pay ap­prox­i­mately $360,000 to SaskPower in 2019 for the car­bon pric­ing rate rider.

“In the early stages it’s go­ing to be put into an equal­iza­tion ac­count and then they’ll fig­ure out whether they’re pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive on that ac­count when they pay at the end of the year, and then ad­just the rates go­ing for­ward,” he ex­plained. “Of course the rates are go­ing to rise ev­ery year as car­bon pric­ing gets more ex­pen­sive. So there will be rate in­creases for it on top of that as well.”

SaskPower will ad­just this car­bon pric­ing rate rider to en­sure that the money col­lected for the car­bon tax will re­main rev­enue neu­tral.

All funds col­lected by the City of Swift Cur­rent as a re­sult of this car­bon pric­ing elec­tric­ity rate ad­just­ment will sim­ply be passed on to SaskPower.

“For us it is rev­enue neu­tral,” he said. “Any­thing that we col­lect we’ll pay in to SaskPower.”

The elec­tric­ity rate in­crease by the City of Swift Cur­rent matches the amount that it needs to pay to SaskPower for the fed­eral car­bon pric­ing.

“We al­ways match our rates to SaskPower’s,” Minken said.

“They’ll be charg­ing us that rate rider for the car­bon pric­ing, so we’ll just pass that on to our cus­tomers, and it’s ex­actly the same amount that they’re pass­ing onto their cus­tomers.”

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment's cli­mate ac­tion plan in­cludes car­bon pric­ing re­bates to Saskatchew­an res­i­dents. Although the fed­eral car­bon pric­ing sys­tem will only come into ef­fect on April 1, res­i­dents can al­ready claim this rebate when they file their 2018 tax re­turns.

Pho­tos by Matthew Lieben­berg

Out­law coun­try artist Mariel Buck­ley on stage at the Lyric The­atre with bass player Kur­tis Cock­er­ill in the back­ground. BUCKET LIST: Cal­gary singer­song­writer Mariel Buck­ley, who opened for k.d. lang in 2017 and has been called a mod­ern Loretta Lynn, per­formed with her band at a Blen­ders con­cert in Swift Cur­rent, March 9. There are only two per­for­mances left in the 2018- 19 Blen­ders con­cert se­ries at the Lyric The­atre. Prince Ed­ward Is­land's Dy­lan Men­zie will play at the Lyric The­atre on April 5. The se­ries will con­clude with an ap­pear­ance by award­win­ning Al­berta mu­si­cian Caleb Hart, who cre­ates is­land soul mu­sic through a com­bi­na­tion of dif­fer­ent gen­res. More info about the next two Blen­ders con­certs are avail­able on­line at www.blender­smu­sic.ca

Out­law coun­try artist Mariel Buck­ley is flanked by band mem­ber Keane Eng (at left) on lead gui­tar .

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