Yorktonites had their opportunity December 4 to have their say on SaskPower’s proposed rate increases directly to the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel (SRRP) during a public meeting at Gallagher Centre.
“It was low attendance, but good quality discussion,” said Kathy Weber SRRP chair. “The message from the public was made quite clear to the panel.”
That message, she said, was two-fold in Yorkton, that rate-payers expect the utility to be responsible in its expenses, spending and planning and that it is becoming increasingly difficult for customers to continue to keep up with the increases.
SaskPower is seeking a 5.5 per cent increase effective January 1, 2014 and 5 per cent more for each of the next two years for an estimated average monthly increase of $13 for urban residential, $23 for rural residential and $26 for farm customers over the three years.
The company justifies the increase based on the need to upgrade existing 30- to 50-year-old infrastructure and expanding the electrical system to keep up with ever-increasing demand.
Although public meetings wrapped up last week members of the public still have until February 7 to make their views known to the panel online (saskratereview.ca), on Facebook (facebook.com/saskratereview), via Twitter (@saskratereview), by mail (P.O. Box 1301, Saskatoon, S7K 3N1), by email (in...@saskratereview.ca) or by telephone voice message (877.368.7075).
Weber said the panel has no idea at this point what its recommendation to the Province will be, but expects to have the report done by April.
Whatever the panel recommends, Weber believes it will have an impact on what the government decides to do.
They typically won’t vary very much from what the panel recommends, but there’s no guarantee,” she said.