Mr. Speaker, through the Petroleum Products Program, the Department of Public Works and Services provides fuel to 16 NWT communities not served by the private sector. The Department supplies fuel to these communities by truck during the winter road season and by barge in the summer. Prices for consumers typically change once or twice each year, in spring and in fall, after a new supply of fuel is delivered to the community.
Mr. Speaker, the wholesale price that the Department of Public Works and Services pays to buy heating fuel and gasoline in bulk has dropped over the past year. Recognizing that our residents benefit most from heating fuel price reductions during the colder winter months, I am pleased to advise that the Department has reduced heating fuel prices for consumers in all of the 16 communities served by the Petroleum Products Program. We have made this decision even before completing the fuel resupply for this season, anticipating lower fuel purchase costs.
Initial price reductions averaging seven cents per litre came into effect on February 8th for all 16 communities.
For the five communities where the resupply of fuel was just completed, further price changes were made on February 15th, reducing the price of heating fuel by an average of 22 cents per litre and gasoline by an average of 20 per litre. As fuel deliveries to communities are completed over the coming weeks and months, further price reductions are expected.
Reducing the cost of living is one of the priorities of this Assembly. While we cannot control the wholesale cost of petroleum products, the Department is committed to helping where we can by passing on cost savings on fuel products in the form of lower prices wherever possible, as soon as possible.
Mr. Speaker, managing energy costs is an important responsibility of both residents and government as we face challenging economic times. With this in mind, the Energy Division of the Department of Public Works and Services is working to improve energy awareness, promote energy efficient behaviours, and seek out and adopt affordable alternative and renewable energy solutions that will benefit residents, businesses and government in the long-term.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.