Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Pictured above: Yukon Energy president Andrew Hall

Major power rate increase kicks in

Monthly electrical bills are going up this month for residential and commercial customers, Yukon Energy announced this morning.

By Chuck Tobin on December 4, 2019

Monthly electrical bills are going up this month for residential and commercial customers, Yukon Energy announced this morning.

For a home that uses 1,000 kilowatt hours a month, the increase works out to be 14 per cent, or $21.50 per month, according to the figures supplied by the Crown corporation.

For the home using 1,000 kilowatt hours, the monthly bill will jump from $153.03 to $174.53, after the monthly Yukon government subsidy of $24 is deducted and GST is applied.

For the commercial establishment that uses 2,000 kilowatts hours a month, the increase works out to be about $34.47 per month, or 12 per cent.The increase was the result of a rate application to increase rates in 2017 and 2018 that was finalized by the Yukon Utilities Board on Nov. 24, 29 months after the application was submitted by Yukon Energy in June 2017.

While Yukon Energy sought a nine per cent increase, with the compounding effect related to the time elapsed, the increase approved by the board works out to be 9.5 per cent.

When Yukon Energy filed the application, the utilities board did provide an interim increase of 4.6 per cent on Sept. 1, 2017.

The final decision approves a further permanent increase of 4.7 per cent on top of the interim increase in 2017.

It also approves a temporary increase of 7.1 per cent over the next two years to allow Yukon Energy to collect the revenue that it is entitled to going back to 2017.

The rate application of 2017 was aimed at collecting money for capital projects that had been undertaken but not yet added to the ratebase as well as increases to the annual operating costs of the Crown corporation.

The application, for instance, included the cost of the new LNG facility and the first two generators that came online in 2015. (Now there are three.)

The capital component of the rate application to cover the new generating facility and other infrastructure requirements like major repairs at the Aishihik hydro facility accounted for 54 per cent of the additional revenue required.

The operations and maintenance portion that included increases in wages, materials and contractor costs accounted for 46 per cent.

Yukon Energy maintains the new rates are by far still the lowest in the three territories and comparable to the rates in cities down south.

The monthly bill is sent out by ATCO Electric Yukon, and ATCO and Yukon Energy are separate entities. ATCO, a private company, had its last rate application applied in 2017.

ATCO spokeswoman Carla Tureski said this morning ATCO does not have any plans currently for a new rate application.

Yukon Energy president Andrew Hall said early this afternoon the Crown corporation is already working on its next rate application.

When a customer like Victoria Gold gets added to the grid, like it was last year, the utilities board generally likes to see what if does to the rate structure, he said.

“We are working on one but I have not have not got permission from my board to file it yet, but we are working on it,” he said. “I just can’t say when we would file it.”

Hall said the time it took the Yukon Utilities Board to issue its final decision is a concern, and not just for Yukon Energy.

It makes it hard on everyone when you have to add a sudden increase on a bill just to catch up, he explained.

Hall noted this rate application did run into a court challenge that added to the length of time it took for the board to make its ruling.

All the parties, however, have a concern generally about the time it takes for rate applications to be dealt with, he said.

He pointed out the concern has been laid out as an action item in the Yukon government’s energy and climate change strategy released last month.

Hall said from what he understands, he would estimate 90 to 95 per cent of the new houses being built in the territory have electric heat.

Going with electric does help address climate change concerns, though there has to be a corresponding increase in the amount of renewable generation on the grid, and not just burning more diesel and natural gas to meet the increase demand, he suggested.

There are approximately 16,232 residential customers in the Yukon and 3,233 commercial customers, according to records.

Comments (36)

Up 3 Down 5

YukonMax on Dec 10, 2019 at 8:47 am

@North_of_60 "The generators are in Whitehorse and not at Victoria gold, because it costs more to truck the fuel further up the highway to VG or other mines." So have them bare the cost!!!!!! We can't pay for everything. Roads to and from, closure remediations, closure remediations, did I say that? I would suggest to use some of the royalties to offset the cost to residential ratepayers but it just so happen that those royalties don't even cover the cost of the department that administer the funds.

Up 27 Down 2

Yukoner79 on Dec 9, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Election, please.

Up 29 Down 2

David on Dec 9, 2019 at 10:42 am

This doesn't make any sense. YG is offering major incentives for people to switch over to electric energy, citing it is "greener", then they act all surprised when the electrical demand goes up and then as a response slap on a couple more diesel generators and increase their rates! Going electric is not any greener if we just use diesel generators to produce that electricity! If YG really wants to move towards greener energy they need to jump in with both feet and stop stumbling around the edge as they are currently doing. Build a sustainable and renewable energy source!

Up 15 Down 4

North_of_60 on Dec 7, 2019 at 5:37 pm

The generators are in Whitehorse and not at Victoria gold, because it costs more to truck the fuel further up the highway to VG or other mines. Plus LNG is less cost per kWh generated than diesel fuel.

Up 13 Down 9

Yukonmom on Dec 6, 2019 at 8:10 pm

And why are the generators in Whitehorse and not at Victoria gold??

Up 30 Down 5

Nicky on Dec 6, 2019 at 5:12 pm

People who generate surplus solar electricity get paid 21¢/kWh while YE spills water that could have generated electricity for 7¢/kWh. Someone has to pay the -14¢/kWh difference so we can feel good about the ClimateEmergency™ the govt proclaimed. Doesn't it feel nice to be subsidizing those who can afford solar?

Up 8 Down 47

woodcutter on Dec 6, 2019 at 1:27 pm

wha wha wha, everyone complaining about a $20 increase in a power bill, blaming carbon tax, poor people truedope, the greenies, Yukon energy ect ect. After I while one would think this is the complaints section of the alt right, oil industry shills and climate change deniers.

Even someone suggesting we should have a general strike and not pay our electric bills. Imagine you get your power shut off, then your house freezes and then the insurance company tells you to take a hike on your claim and cancel your policy. Then the bank will call your mortgage and now what ? 15000x60 = $900 000.00 in reconnection fees.

Another great Idea from the folks who think Andrew Smear could win. Brilliant.

Up 34 Down 5

Joe on Dec 5, 2019 at 10:50 pm

Anyone notice the nine diesel powered generators lined up in front of YEC lately? Yukon Energy is burning diesel or LNG 12 months of the year. There is no surplus hydro except for a short period in summer. Diesel burned in a furnace is 85% efficient at providing heat. Diesel burned in a generator is perhaps 35% efficient at producing electricity and then there is up to another 5% lost to transmission losses.
To use or promote electric heat as green is absurd as one half of the energy is thrown away as exhaust heat. Those dwellings, businesses and mines that have installed electric heat may have saved on capital cost, but should be expected to pay the full cost of diesel generated power. Electric cars only make sense if we were to have additional green generating capacity. Otherwise they simply increase the demand to burn more diesel.

Up 11 Down 3

b on Dec 5, 2019 at 5:47 pm

We're not there yet but when enough becomes enough there is lots people can do. Complaining about it and typing rants isn't one of them. Maintaining the status quo for payouts to shareholders is not fair when you look at what takes place in the market and the wage increases of the average worker. However, this is what is taking place. We can't complain individually, we have to do it together. The system is based on running rough-shod on the individual- your power can be shut down for a variety of reasons.
Does a 14% increase deserve some kind of message or drastic action? It probably does. Do you think the power will be shut down if 15,000 households do the same thing at the end of the month? This is what it will take to wake up the system, because as long as the individual household and commercial businesses keep paying ( God forbid another mine doesn't come on line) the large increases will keep happening. When you've had enough start talking to a lot of people and good things will happen.

Up 23 Down 6

martin on Dec 5, 2019 at 5:26 pm

I can't wait for a clean energy such as is nuclear. And don't bother telling is not clean, 'cause I won't' answer to that.

Of course the greenies won't like it, but then again, they don't like anything.

Up 27 Down 6

jc on Dec 5, 2019 at 5:23 pm

I could agree on the power increase, if YEC did away with the minimum charge as well. The more energy we use, the more we pay. However, the less we use, we still have to pay the minimum charge. For instance, I spent the entire month of October in Vancouver. Everything was turned off, with my thermostats set at just above 0. During that time, it didn't get cold enough for the thermostats to kick in. But still had to pay the same minimum charge. No fare YEC.

Up 21 Down 11

Miles Epanhauser on Dec 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm

It's part of the climate change emergency.

Up 43 Down 6

Mick on Dec 5, 2019 at 2:59 pm

Rate hikes brought to you by the same morons who suggested Yukoners enjoy a nice candle lit dinner to conserve energy.

Up 34 Down 6

Groucho d'North on Dec 5, 2019 at 2:55 pm

@Jonathan Colby
Yes the electrical utility is a business and being crown - owned that makes all we taxpayers shareholders in the organization. I'm still waiting for my dividend as I suspect you are too.

Up 28 Down 8

Juniper Jackson on Dec 5, 2019 at 12:59 pm

There are an awful lot of people that do not pay their own bills..taxpayers pay their bills. So, they will not be going cold, but taxpayers will be stuck with their hikes too.

I just get so angry when southerners start with the "in Ontario" crap... I never thought I'd say this, but, here it is.. Get out and go back where you came from.

Yukon Electric IS a business. They have stock/share holders that want their dividends. That these steady increases keep getting the green light makes me wonder.. hmmm just who are these stockholders? http://www.tc.gov.yk.ca/findingaids/yecl.pdf I can't find an updated list of who currently owns stock/shares in the company,

I am old. In all my years..no matter what anyone says about any issue..it ends up being about the money. Who makes it? Climate change is a very lucrative issue..most pay, a few get mega money. The world is always changing, its always in a state of flux. It's no use talking to zealots. They are deaf and blind to everything but their own opinion..and there are zealots in climate, zealots over abortion, zealots politically, zealots in religion.. don't bother trying to change them, work instead to contain the damage they do. Another poster pointed out that this rate hike, and its huge, is not just electricity. The chain reaction is going to have a cumulative effect on every single thing we do in our daily lives..everything from groceries to gas will increase, and some dramatically. I don't know what else I can give up and still pay the bills.

Up 42 Down 4

Groucho d'North on Dec 5, 2019 at 12:54 pm

Another bad news story for we seniors on a fixed income. We pay the carbon tax for the fuel we consume, now it appears we are paying the tax for YEC as well.
I expect the Liberal government to adjust the The Pioneer Utility Grant to deal with this abuse of power. I wonder if they still think this carbon tax is "revenue neutral"?

Up 19 Down 26

Wes on Dec 5, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Greta Looney.....
Oh please, give it a rest. The Yukon Party could have pushed for a hydro mega project and didn't. This issue has zero to do with the party in power.

Up 31 Down 3

seriously? on Dec 5, 2019 at 12:04 pm

"I love spending more money on a monopoly that provides mediocre service at best".....said no one ever.

It's not rocket science...we all know that the grid is overworked and it's not squirrels knocking out the power when it's -30c and dinner time...

Up 32 Down 5

Jonathan Colby on Dec 5, 2019 at 11:20 am

"We have to run a business, like everyone else"
That's part of the problem. Why public utilities are treated or organized like businesses, I'll never know. A steady increase in rates over time based on a comprehensive plan to meet the growth is preferable to punctuated bursts of, "Oh hey, now we gotta pay for this, dunno 'bout next year, but we're working on it!"

Up 38 Down 6

YukonGirl on Dec 5, 2019 at 10:27 am

This is complete and utter BS. You can't even provide power at the current demand. The amount of full on black-outs I have had in the past 2 months is ridiculous. We get constant power bumps and lengthy outages across the territory on a regular basis. What a joke. I don't see the rest of Yukon workers getting any kind of raise or compensation to help with these bill increases. What do you think we're all made of, money?

Up 35 Down 5

Eric Blair on Dec 5, 2019 at 10:06 am

Odd, no mention of the Carbon Tax as an influence to this rate increase. I wonder what influenced the inflation increase?
More smoke & mirrors.

Up 46 Down 2

Mike on Dec 5, 2019 at 9:02 am

A couple weeks ago it was noted the green push from the city to get 1500 homes off of heating fuel. Now the electricity rates are going through the roof... You can't have it both ways. I have tried to utilize electric and my recent bill more than doubled and it's not even cold yet.

Up 51 Down 9

Obi on Dec 5, 2019 at 8:37 am

I’ve said it before,”Build a new dam”.
The Yukon is blessed with many rivers that can be used for hydro. Why to we always look for band aid approaches to this problem?
Diesel generators, LNG plants nope! Windmills and Solar will not provide enough power, and that’s only when the sun shines, and the wind blows.

Go to the canyon on the Pelly River, and build a dam big enough to supply all of the Yukon’s energy needs for the foreseeable future. With all the money wasted on surveys etc., over the past years we could have been well on our way to have this problem solved. And anybody that stands in the way of this necessary development should be told to get on board or back off!
The government running the Yukon now has to show the intestinal fortitude to make ALL parties, realize that this is something that transcends any minority objections, and is an absolute essential project that benefits everybody....

Up 36 Down 4

Matthew on Dec 5, 2019 at 6:36 am

Woo Hoo! Who doesn't love higher bills! I love how they feel they are entitled to the rate hike.. they say going electric helps fight climate change? Uh hello guys, it comes from diesel generator! LOL drink some more climate kool aid...

Up 36 Down 7

Tater on Dec 5, 2019 at 2:03 am

Well, where is the new hydro dam? Oh wait, there are certain groups who oppose this because of climate, fish and cultural issues, (which can easily be overcome with financial "compensation").

Up 39 Down 1

Charlie's Aunt on Dec 5, 2019 at 12:55 am

OK, everyone who received 9.5% increase in their income over past 2 years, please raise your hand; ha-ha. I would like to see some stats on how many households manage to keep their usage under the magic 1,000 kw a month in winter, especially those with electric heat & several family members. Not to mention it will probably mean retail & service prices will increase to compensate commercial establishments.

Up 31 Down 3

Roger R. on Dec 4, 2019 at 8:29 pm

" Yukon Energy maintains the new rates are by far still the lowest in the three territories and comparable to the rates in cities down south." This is an invalid statement by the power corp but they continue to try and use it for leverage. We have a dam, a river and four generators that get turned over by that river. They do not.
Finally a mention of infrastructure possibly being defined. 54% of increase was used for an infrastructure problem at Aishihik that nobody heard of until now. I think the infrastructure shored up the T4s somewhat more than what is eluded to.
No new rate increases are being sought. That's a relief being as that they can't find what to spend all of the last unjustified increase on. Mr Hall your position is weak.

Up 36 Down 6

BnR on Dec 4, 2019 at 6:46 pm

Simple question; would holding back more water in the Southern lakes in the fall decrease our rates?
If yes, why aren't we doing it?

Up 33 Down 18

Greta looneythunberg on Dec 4, 2019 at 6:27 pm

Welcome to the great liberal green energy scam Yukon. Build new hydro generation, nope no social license. Maybe small nuclear, forget it. So now we get government dumping millions into solar subsidies and Yukon Energy paying people for solar power in the summer when there is plenty of water flowing over the dam. You vote liberal this is exactly what you deserve. And it's exactly what has happened to energy prices in every jurisdiction that liberals control the energy policy. But sleep well you are saving the planet from that imaginary boogey man climate change.
There is a sucker born every minute!

Up 25 Down 14

jc on Dec 4, 2019 at 5:31 pm

So, David, you want to pay more for your energy bills do you. That's what your so called renewable energy does, increase monthly bills. Just ask anyone in Ontario. I say we go back to oil. And lots of it. Screw climate change. They don't pay my energy bills.

Up 30 Down 8

Max Mack on Dec 4, 2019 at 5:17 pm

This is only the tip of the iceberg. So-called "green" energy is going to add considerably to the cost of electricity.

Hall says "renewable energy" has to increase . . . but he doesn't mean medium-scale hydro or nuclear. He means the mythical unicorn that is wind and solar. The first nations and now the municipalities all want a cut of that heavily subsidized revenue stream, and they will block every proposal but those that stuff more money in their pockets.

Fed, GY, First Nations, municipalities, and contractors all colluding to take more from you in exchange for a more volatile electrical system. Were the hydro and thermal-generation "consultations" deliberately spiked to pave the way for "green" energy options?

We do not live in a society where the welfare of its citizens is first and foremost.

Up 84 Down 10

Gringo on Dec 4, 2019 at 4:19 pm

This increase is directly proportional to all the GREEN homes going up in Whistle Bend and all the supplement DIESEL power brought to maintain the increased load. So there you have it, be prepared to start paying through the nose and this is just the start.

Up 62 Down 16

Leeches all over on Dec 4, 2019 at 3:55 pm

My power browns out or blacks out consistently in Mt. Sima.
You're taking more money and providing poor service.
You're like the government that we didn't elect.
Please provide the service that people have already paid for. (from your guts, none of you are missing any meals.)

Ever read the book Animal Farm. You know those fat pigs at the end that all sit around the table--- YG, COW, and Yukon Energy. "Let the boxer's work and we'll just make more money! Got another vacation booked off, paid too! Hey did you do that 4 year deal, work four years straight for gov and then you get an entire year off paid!... and during those 4 years straight you work, you get holidays + weekends off!"

If the entire economy worked off of the way that you get paid, we'd have no one working and everyone waiting for their cheque.
But be proud! You're getting top dollar for providing poor service

Up 65 Down 4

Jonathan Colby on Dec 4, 2019 at 3:28 pm

Disgusting. YECs methods of rate calculation, and its reasons for rate increases, are byzantine and poorly explained.


Up 72 Down 5

Davis on Dec 4, 2019 at 2:43 pm

This is a frustrating read, Yukon Energy is acting like this is a surprise! Electricity demands have been increasing steadily since Yukon Energy first started, and guess what? It's only going to keep increasing! This is not hard to predict!

Yukon Energy president Andrew Hall quote: "Going with electric does help address climate change concerns, though there has to be a corresponding increase in the amount of renewable generation on the grid, and not just burning more diesel and natural gas to meet the increase demand" - thanks for pointing out the obvious! You have no one to blame for this but yourself! Is it not your job to ensure we can meet the demands in a sustainable way??

Up 71 Down 10

David on Dec 4, 2019 at 2:37 pm

The Yukon is growing and there is only going to be more and more demand for electricity - what is Yukon Energy doing about it?? Not much it seems... Stop trying to add another LNG generator as a short term band-aid fix, that is not the answer. Start installing some kind of renewable generation! There has been talk about this for as long as I can remember, it's time for some action! Everywhere else in the world is doing it so why can't we?

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.