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Power bills to remain high

Yukon electricity bills won’t be dropping as promised by Archie Lang in May.On Monday, Willard Phelps, chair of Yukon Energy Corporation,…

Yukon electricity bills won’t be dropping as promised by Archie Lang in May.

On Monday, Willard Phelps, chair of Yukon Energy Corporation, admitted an application to reduce power rates won’t happen until next fall.

“At this point we intend to file in the early fall, probably August,” said Phelps in the legislature on Monday.

The Yukon Utilities Board recommended the energy corp. apply to reduce rates this fall, president David Morrison told the legislative assembly.

“We did not ignore the board,” he said.

“We corresponded with the board and indicated that there were some factors we needed to take into consideration prior to filing.”

Lang, the Energy minister, promised Yukoners reduced rates by this coming summer, noted Liberal energy critic Gary McRobb.

On May 15th, Lang committed to going ahead with a rate-reduction application in February.

Lang was looking forward to “being able to report to this house in the next 14 months that the rate stabilization fund is no longer needed in the territory because we have rate reductions.”

Now, it has been delayed a whole year, said McRobb.

“The minister isn’t keeping his end of the deal.

“How long has the minister known about this delay and why did he choose to keep it secret, instead of informing the public?”

“I don’t make the decision for when the utilities board goes in front of the utilities board,” said Lang during Tuesday’s question period.

“That’s done by the utility.”

Power bills have gone up roughly $30 a month, said McRobb.

That’s $400 a year.

“And not all Yukoners can afford it like Lang can,” he said.

McRobb wants to see Yukoners obtain an energy credit of $400 for this year and next, while the rate reductions are sorted out.

“There are many Yukoners who don’t have $400 per year to pay in higher electric bills,” he said during question period.

“There are seniors, people on fixed incomes, single parents, all of whom just don’t have the money.

“I’m asking the minister to do the right thing — give back the increase.”

The corporation’s general rate application is going to start in the New Year, and hopefully to be in front of the board by this coming fall, said Lang.

“At the end of that, there should be relief and lower bills for all consumers of energy in the Yukon — that’s good news for Yukoners.”