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Power rates could go up next month

The Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. has requested an 11.7 per cent increase in power rates over the next two-and-a-half years.

The Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. has requested an 11.7 per cent increase in power rates over the next two-and-a-half years.

The hike would be on top of what has already been approved for the Yukon Energy Corporation.

Consumers could see a 6.5 per cent hike on power consumption beginning in July, if the Yukon Utilities Board approves an interim increase.

The additional fee will go up to 9.5 per cent in 2014, and 11.7 per cent in 2015, if the plan is approved.

The reasons for the application to the board are outlined in a 1,900 page document, available on the electrical company’s website.

The rate increase will pay for $60 million in capital investments and revenue shortfalls.

“There has been a lot of growth in the territory for new customers and additional load and electric heat and more diesel consumption coming into play,” said Dwight Redden, general manager of Yukon Electrical. “So with those additional loads on the system, we need to do more investment.”

About $10 million will pay for upgrades at the Fish Lake hydro plant.

But the plan must first be approved by the utilities board. The decision will likely not occur until early next year.

Yukon Electrical hopes the board will approve the interim rate hike by June 24.

It has suggested early November for the hearing on the application.

In the meantime, intervenors will be invited to bring evidence forward and comment on the proposal.

“Everyone decides, ‘How prudent are our costs that have been spent? What are we forecasting for the next three years? Is it reasonable and do we need to do it all?’” said Redden.

Ultimately, it is up to the board to decide whether or not the utility has done its due diligence in forecasting revenues and costs, and whether or not the rate increase is appropriate.

Yukon Electrical services 90 per cent of the territory’s power consumers.

It buys power wholesale from Yukon Energy, which provides 90 per cent of the territory’s power generation and transmission.

In addition to new capital investments, Yukon Electrical has partnered with Yukon Energy to promote energy conservation.

The utilities released their five-year demand-side management plan last week.

Pending approval by the utilities board, $2 million in incentives will be offered to encourage energy-efficient buildings, heating systems, and the use of products that save power.

The hope is that millions more will be saved in capital expenditures for expanding capacity in the Yukon grid, or burning diesel where hydro capacity does not meet demand.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at