No free rides

No free rides Re electrical cost of service to Alexco Mine: A couple of weeks ago I wrote regarding fair cost of electrical service to industrial customers (i.e. mines) hooking up to our grids. We now have two mines hooked on, Minto and Alexco. Yukon Ene

Re electrical cost of service to Alexco Mine:

A couple of weeks ago I wrote regarding fair cost of electrical service to industrial customers (i.e. mines) hooking up to our grids.

We now have two mines hooked on, Minto and Alexco. Yukon Energy has just submitted a Purchase Power Agreement with Alexco, to the Yukon Utilities Board.

The mines currently pay a little more than 10 cents per kilowatt hour for their power consumption, set by an order-in-council from the Yukon government until 2012.

Currently, residential customers are paying over 13 cents per kilowatt hour, and general service (businesses) even higher rates.

The Utilities Consumers’ Group has several major concerns with this new power purchase agreement application:

1) There does not appear to be a set amount to be paid monthly regardless of whether Alexco uses its requested amount of energy, as with the Minto agreement;

2) There does not appear to be a premium rate set for any energy above and beyond this requested amount;

3) There does not appear to be any premium rate set to discourage electrical space heating (i.e in the mill or the camps);

4) There does not appear to be any premium rates to discourage heavy usage of energy during peak times;

5) There does not appear to be any agreement Alexco will pay its share of any diesel needed on the grid;

6) There does not appear to be any agreement for Alexco to pay its share of the subsidization of diesel-burning communities, as with all other rate groups;

7) There does not appear to be any agreement for Alexco to pay its share of capital costs of Mayo B or Aishihik 3, into the future, if it requires more energy than the requested amount;

8) There does not appear to be any conditions placed on Alexco to ensure it uses up-to-date, high-efficiency electrical motors and pumps, etc. to ramp down the energy demand during peak load times, so diesel does not have to be burned.

The mines are good for the Yukon economy and workforce, but they must not get a free ride.

Yukoners should benefit from any agreements with mines who wish to use our electrical facilities.

Roger Rondeau, Utilities Consumers’ Group

Whitehorse