The Yukon government has reduced the monthly electrical subsidy for residential customers by 10 per cent.
The maximum monthly rebate for the first 1,000 kilowatt hours fell from $26.62 to $23.95 beginning June 1.
The announcement was made last Friday.
Geoff Woodhouse of the Yukon Development Corp. explained this week the reduction was needed to bring the subsidy in line with the annual budget of $3.5 million the government provides for the rebate.
In the previous two fiscal years, the rebate exceeded the budget, he explained.
In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, Woodhouse said, the government paid out $70,000 or two per cent more than the $3.5 million.
In the last fiscal year, it paid out 3.5 per cent more, or just over $125,000, he explained.
He said the growth in the Yukon’s population and the growth in household use is pushing up consumption and subsequently the draw on the rebate program.
The subsidy was introduced in 1998 as the rate stabilization fund to offset the impact on ratepayers caused by the closure of the Faro mine, which at the time was the largest electrical customer on the grid.
It has gone through a handful of changes, most notably in 2007. That year, the former Yukon Party government announced it was cutting the subsidy by 50 per cent, from a maximum of just over $36 a month to just over $18 a month.
It also announced it would be ending the rebate altogether in 2008.
The government of the day said it was becoming too expensive, and indicated a variety of energy conservation programs available to residential customers could help reduce their consumption and cost.
Providing the subsidy, the government said, was contrary to promoting energy conservation.
The government didn’t follow through with eliminating it, but rather increased the maximum rate in 2009 from just over $18 to $26.62.