Nix the interim power rate hike

The Utilities Consumers' Group has registered our intervention in the application filed by Yukon Energy for a 2012 General Rate Application process.

The Utilities Consumers’ Group has registered our intervention in the application filed by Yukon Energy for a 2012 General Rate Application process.

The nature of our representation is to protect the interests of residential and small business consumers of electricity in the Yukon Territory. Of particular concern is that the result of this application will likely be another increase in the bills for residential and small business customers, which is already strained for many low- and set-income earners.

It is interesting to note the spin placed by Yukon Energy in their webpage presenting the rate application, as well as how its portrayed in the media, in that there has not been a retail rate increase since 1999.

Electrical ratepayers in the Yukon are not so juvenile as to believe this assertion, as they have experienced regular increases in their electrical bill since this time through various rate riders and government edicts.

Yukon Energy’s webpage further rationalizes that since the cost of living in the Yukon has gone up more than 20 per cent since the late 1990s, it is now time to raise our electrical rates as well. I can guarantee that my electrical bill has gone up by more than 20 per cent since 1999.

Yukon Energy then proposes their reasons for their desired rate increases, but anyone in the know recognizes the real reasons: Yukon Energy needs more revenue to take care of all their new capital projects (including cost overruns) as well as to pay for all the increases in their administration and consultant expenses.

Our main focus will be on the two above issues and to demonstrate if Yukon Energy has managed our electrical system to the benefit of its customers, i.e. that it has indeed become more productive, not just going to its ratepayers for more cash.

Yukon Energy proposes to implement overall interim rate adjustments of 6.4 per cent for retail customers and 2.9 per cent for industrial customers through a Rider J, effective July 1.

We submit that Yukon Energy should have placed their order last year if they wished to recover greater revenues for 2012.

The concept of a general rate application is to go forward in test-year times, not backwards. The utilities always reason that we cannot regulate using retroactive rate-making principles, but then always use this concept when it is to their advantage.

Accordingly, Yukon Energy should only be allowed to recover costs from the time moving forward into the test years when and if the board decides on any rate changes. In other words, no interim rates.

Any retroactive revenues requested to make up for the increased costs until this time period should be rejected for not submitting an application in time for due process.

Roger Rondeau

Utilities Consumers’ Group