The end of a power cord is seen on Aug. 31. ATCO Electric Yukon and the Yukon Energy Corporation have both filed for rate increases. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

The end of a power cord is seen on Aug. 31. ATCO Electric Yukon and the Yukon Energy Corporation have both filed for rate increases. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

Yukoners’ power bills could go up by 3% this fall and again next summer: Yukon Energy Corporation

Minimizing “rate shock” is the Yukon government’s plan as power companies seek rate increases

The Yukon’s publicly owned electrical utility has filed a general rate application that, if approved, will see residential and commercial electricity bills go up by three per cent this fall and another three per cent next summer.

“The increases are needed so that Yukon Energy [Corporation] can make the investments required to reinforce the backbone of the Yukon’s existing electricity system,” reads a Sept. 1 press release.

“At the same time, the increases will also allow the corporation to advance projects that will secure the supply of sustainable and reliable electricity in the territory, and programs that will help Yukoners take an active role in shifting peak demand for power.”

The release notes that “to make these investments, the corporation is asking the [Yukon Utilities Board] for a 14.1 per cent rate increase to be applied over three different times in 2023 and 2024: Oct. 1, Jan. 1 and Aug. 1,” adding that rate increases and bill increases are not the same thing.

The application will be reviewed by the Yukon Utilities Board and must be approved before changes apply to electricity bills.

“This rate increase is about investing in our electricity system, as we enter a period of rapid growth and demand on the system,” interim president Chris Milner said in the release.

“When deciding whether a rate increase is needed, we always look to balance sustainability, reliability and affordability. We also look at ways we can soften the impact of rate increases on Yukoners’ bills by implementing smaller increases more regularly. Ultimately, this rate increase is needed so that we can make the investments needed to maintain a reliable and resilient electricity system.”

Growing demands for electricity, maintaining and upgrading the territory’s electricity system, supporting the energy transition and the rising costs of material and labour are the main drivers of the rate increase, per the release.

The corporation primarily generates and transmits electricity and sells it to ATCO Electric Yukon, which mainly distributes it to Yukoners. A general rate application from ATCO Electric Yukon is already before the board to hike rates.

Per an Aug. 22 press release, the Yukon Party wanted the minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation to work out the timing of the corporation’s application so that the board can review both applications simultaneously.

The Official Opposition suggested that if both utilities are seeking to up power rates, then it is important for the board to consider the entire scope of what is being proposed by the utilities together.

Yukon Party Copperbelt South MLA and energy critic Scott Kent wanted to know how the government’s rented fleet of diesel generators will impact electricity rates, and when potential power rate increases are expected.

Per an email from Yukon Party press secretary Tim Kucharuk, it didn’t appear the corporation was contemplating a rate reduction based on their annual report for 2022.

That report indicates the new revenue is forecast to go down to $16 million due to higher operations and maintenance costs of $4.9 million and an increase in fuel and purchased power of $3.7 million. Additionally, the corporation doesn’t expect to repeat the $7.4 million unrealized gain on debt instruments from 2022. It is forecasting a return of 4.23 per cent for 2023, down 4.42 per cent from the return on equity that was approved in the last 2021 general rate application of 8.65 per cent.

“Yukon Energy [Corporation] is considering a general rate application for 2023 to give us the opportunity to adjust rates to reflect the corporation’s cost requirements and capital plans,” reads the report.

An Aug. 31 statement from cabinet communications, prior to the energy corporation’s release, suggests the Yukon Party is trying to take credit for the government’s work and the utilities board will be aware of both requests while it deliberates.

“Our government has made it a priority to plan the timing of rate applications to minimize rate shock and we continue to have discussions with our energy partners,” reads the statement.

Electricity rates in the Yukon remain the lowest in the North. Monthly bill comparisons are roughly on par with average costs in Alberta, per the Canada Energy Regulator’s online breakdown.

The government statement indicates the government respects private businesses like ATCO Electric Yukon and the Yukon Utilities Board as an arm’s length independent regulator.

“We recognize that electricity prices can make it harder for Yukoners to make ends meet,” reads the statement. It adds that’s why the government has extended the “inflation relief rebate” — a $50 credit per month for three months — on power bills three times since 2022.

“While the rest of the world moves towards building clean power infrastructure and greening their electricity grids, the Yukon Party wants to ignore the impacts of climate change and commit our territory to an electricity future dependent on diesel and other fossil fuels,” the statement reads.

“Our government continues to work with our energy partners to minimize the impact of electricity rate applications while investing in infrastructure to meet the Yukon’s energy needs going forward.”

Contact Dana Hatherly at