No power to response mechanism


Minister responsible for Yukon Energy Corporation:

On November 1, Utilities Consumers’ Group wrote you regarding many energy issues.

In August, October and December you were sent open letters — copied to the media to inform the public — for response. To this date we have not received a reply from you or your department mandarins, not even a letter of acknowledgment.

From this type of behaviour, from an MLA, we can only infer:

1) You assume, as a principle, that once elected, there is no longer a need to be open and accountable to your constituents;

2) You have no idea what is in your energy portfolio;

3) You don’t care; or

4) All of the above.

Your party mantra claims there is an immediate need to dismantle the electrical Rate Stabilization Fund because it sends a wrong message to electrical ratepayers … read residential customers.

The only wrong message is the one coming from your government: Order-in-Council to prevent industrial customers — read Minto Mine —  from paying Rider F, diesel fuel adjustments, even though energizing the mine is probably the cause for burning diesel in Whitehorse in extreme cold periods this winter.

Order-in-Council to prevent any rebalancing of rates, virtually handcuffing the Yukon Utilities Board from exploring cost-of-service allocation and rate design, both of which have not been fully explored since 1992.

Order-in-Council to prevent any change in equalization of residential and commercial rates across the Yukon, thereby not directing any conservation incentive for diesel communities, or Yukon Energy, to examine alternative energy sources of supply for these communities.

Meddling in the affairs of Yukon Energy 20-Year Resource Plan and YUB recommendations by highly profiling and speeding up the Carmacks/Stewart Transmission Line Phase 2 (at $40 million, or more) and the Mayo B project (a $101-million pipe dream), even though there is no certainty for a mine, or large industrial customer along this route (or any other customer for that matter) to sell this magic power to.

Is your government or the Yukon Development Corporation with your sergeant at arms, Willard Phelps, prepared to pay for all these preliminary studies and environmental processes, etc., or will it be business as usual to have the firm electrical ratepayers pay for these costs?

Looking at my last electrical bill, I see that Rider F (the diesel fuel adjustment rider) is now costing close to what the Rate Stabilization Fund reimburses. Also, I see the Energy Corp. Revenue Shortfall rider (caused by the loss of Faro as a customer) moving from approximately 14.7 per cent to 11.2 per cent, which is a whopping 3.5 per cent decrease due to new sales of power to Minto.

What a benefit to Yukoners.

When you are prepared to do something about these extra diesel charges on our bills and how Yukon Energy allocates the extra money being made from sales to Minto, then maybe you can look at lowering the stabilization refund, or perhaps even putting it to sleep for a while.

What about this?

This time I hope you have the courtesy to respond.

Roger Rondeau, president, Utilities Consumers’ Group