Reforms needed for utilities board

Reforms needed for utilities board Open letter to the Yukon Utilities Board: On June 2 the Utilities Consumers' Group sent you a copy of our Part V energy strategy research paper on consumer perspectives for regulatory reform in the Yukon for your consi

Open letter to the Yukon Utilities Board:

On June 2 the Utilities Consumers’ Group sent you a copy of our Part V energy strategy research paper on consumer perspectives for regulatory reform in the Yukon for your consideration. You wrote back: “Please be advised that your document will not be distributed to the board members, as the board does not consider matters that are outside of a proceeding.”

So our organization filed this as an investigation under the Public Utilities Act on June 6. The board sent an acknowledgement of receipt of the investigation request correspondence. We waited some three months with no further response, so we sent for an update. Your reply: “Please be advised that the board has no plans of providing any further response to UCG’s correspondence noted.”

As our regulatory costs spiral out of hand, you simply dismiss a possible solution to help curtail these costs. For example, your own board costs have convoluted some three-fold from prior norms, for the latest three processes, which you exercised authority over: $236,213 for the Yukon Energy rate increase hearing, $232,795 for the Yukon Electrical general rate increase and $158,537 to bless Yukon Energy’s multi-million dollar liquefied natural gas plant.

This is on top of thousands in core expenses, paid by the Department of Justice, through our tax base.

It would appear by all of this that you have no personal incentive to make the necessary changes in the regulatory regime that would cut costs for the electrical ratepayers. You, as board members, should be the first to embrace such cost cutting measures!

Several years ago, our organization wrote to the minister responsible for your board, noting the possibilities of increasing costs to provide for a board member who lives outside of the territory, as well as one who lives in Dawson, who’s travel and accommodation expenses would be sizeable. This is on top of paying thousands of dollars for several authorities you rely on, flown in from Alberta, to fill your deficiencies!

We respectfully request you look at providing transparency for all board remunerations and related costs so as to justify this to the ratepayers of electricity in the Yukon. We also request you immediately embrace regulatory reform by sending a public response to this very important matter!

Roger Rondeau

Utilities Consumers’ Group

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