Time for answers

Time for answers Open letter to Brad Cathers, minister of Energy, Mines and Resources: Since Jim Kenyon appears not to take the responsibility for his portfolio earnestly, I will ask of you to explain some very important questions on energy issues. In Au

Open letter to Brad Cathers, minister of Energy, Mines and Resources:

Since Jim Kenyon appears not to take the responsibility for his portfolio earnestly, I will ask of you to explain some very important questions on energy issues.

In August, your government is slated to sever the Rate Stabilization Fund. In the meantime, the Yukon Utilities Board has given its verdict on the Yukon Electrical rate application and given them a 4.145 per cent increase, slated to go up 10.526 per cent in 2010.

Yukon Electrical has since filed a review and variance application on this order, which could impact the rates even more.

The board has just completed its hearing and final argument process into the Yukon Energy application for a modest decrease of 3.5 per cent, due to the hooking-up and selling of power to Minto.

All Yukon ratepayers are interested in seeing these real outcomes, but this will likely not come into effect until autumn by the time they are finalized and implemented.

Any decrease is good, but it is less than the YECL increase and is not near the decrease your government promised.

Since your government’s severing of the first half of the Rate Stabilization Fund at the knees last August (which resulted in an instant 15 per cent increase), most residential rates have continued to spiral upward a significant 15 per cent, driven mostly by a series of riders.

It is now far cheaper to buy diesel fuel to heat our homes than use electricity.

Here are the questions posed to you:

Where are all the decreases in electrical rates your government promised Yukoners for the past year to replace the Rate Stabilization Fund? Especially now that your constituents are in an economic downturn and electricity rates continue to rise.

With our economy sliding, paying increased energy bills becomes even more of a burden for many vulnerable Yukoners (pensioners, single-parent families, low- and set-income families).

Where are your programs to introduce means to conserve electricity and thus lower bills for these marginal electrical consumers who do not have the upfront money to access the save-energy initiatives now in place?

How will they afford to keep the lights on? Are they not supposed to eat, or buy shoes for their kids?

Will you consider leaving the present stabilization of our rates alone until such time as our Crown corporation (YEC/YDC) and our government of the day can assure us of reliable and affordable electrical power?

At the very least, will your government delay the axing of the remaining 15 per cent Rate Stabilization Fund, until such time as the board renders its decision on the Yukon Energy application and the review and variance submission by Yukon Electrical (likely not sooner than autumn before completed and implemented) and your government initiates upfront means to access energy programs to the marginal?

Electrical ratepayers would appreciate an expedited solution from you on these important energy concerns.

Please respond in kind!

Roger Rondeau, president

Utilities Consumers’ Group

Whitehorse