YEC applies to raise power rates

Yukon Energy is looking to hike the price of electricity. The company has filed an application with the Yukon Utilities Board for a 13.9 per cent rate increase over the next two years.

Yukon Energy is looking to hike the price of electricity.

The company has filed an application with the Yukon Utilities Board for a 12.9 per cent rate increase over the next two years – 6.4 per cent this year and an additional 6.5 per cent in 2013.

It’s a necessary step, said David Morrison, president of Yukon Energy.

“We haven’t had a rate increase for 13 years,” he said.

Although the utility hasn’t technically raised its rates in more than a decade, it has tacked on fuel surcharges and other riders from time to time.

“We’ve done, in our minds, everything we can to keep rates from going up,” said Morrison.

Yukon Energy has been able to find millions of dollars in savings by doing things like renegotiating its debt, restructuring the depreciation rates it charges for equipment and adding new capacity, said Morrison.

While most of that new capacity, like the Mayo B dam and Carmacks to Stewart Crossing transmission line, were funded by the federal and territorial governments, there are operating costs associated with those projects that have to be picked up by ratepayers.

However, those costs are “pretty small compared with what the savings are,” said Morrison. Those two projects alone save Yukon Energy $1.2 million a year in diesel costs every year.

“What’s really driving that is, over time, the cost of everything we do has gone up, but yet we haven’t increased rates,” said Morrison. “We’ve found ways to help smooth that for customers, but we finally got to the point where there are no ways to avoid adding the cost of what we pay for to the system without getting more rates in order to pay for them.

“It’s really that simple.”

But not everyone agrees with that assessment.

“It’s definitely unreasonable,” said Roger Rondeau, president of the Utilities Consumers’ Group.

But he does think it was inevitable.

“One way or another, they’re going to raise our rates,” he said.

In his opinion, Yukoners are getting shortchanged by industry.

“The mines were supposed to take care of these increases, or at least the major part of it, and they failed to do it,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say getting a free ride but they are freeloading on a system where Yukoners have paid all the infrastructure for years and the mines come in and they get hooked up and pay a cheaper rate then we do.”

While retail electricity rates for commercial and residential customers are set by the Yukon Utilities Board, the rates the mining industry pays were set by an order-in-council and set well below what the rest of the territory pays.

Although Morrison said he understands how that can rub people the wrong way, in a previous interview he insisted that industry is paying its fair share.

Because the industrial sector is, for now, a small part of the overall energy use, it takes far fewer assets and costs less to provide them with power, he said.

“The industrial sector actually pays about 114 per cent of the cost of service,” said Morrison. “It’s a really difficult thing to explain to people. They just go, ‘That sounds dumb to me. They’re paying less than I’m paying so they can’t be paying their fair share.’”

The industrial rate, unlike the commercial and residential rates, has a formula for a regulated increase built into its structure.

Regardless, Yukon Energy has requested that the rates be raised for all customers – commercial, residential, government and industry.

Final approval of a rate hike will require a hearing by the utilities board, but Yukon Energy has requested that the board allow the increase on an interim basis, in which case it would come into effect next month.

Even with the price hike, Yukoners will still be paying less than most other jurisdictions, including large centres, like Edmonton and Regina, said Morrison.

“If you look at the North of North America, there is absolutely no doubt that we are by far the cheapest,” he said.

Contact Josh Kerr at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read