Policy direction to Public Utilities board intended to limit impact of electricity rate increases on NWT residents

YELLOWKNIFE (February 24, 2017) – The Minister Responsible for the Public Utilities Board (PUB), Glen Abernethy, today announced that the Executive Council of the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) issued policy direction on electricity rate setting to the Board. The direction reinforces long standing policy for government customers to pay more for electricity to keep rates lower for residential and small business customers.

By providing this direction, the GNWT is ensuring that electricity rates fall within target ranges as opposed to setting rates to 100% of the actual cost to generate and distribute power to customers. Strict application of a 100% costing approach results in unstable rates and would create significant rate changes across the NWT. A range allows for more flexibility to keep rates stable.

This direction also allows the PUB to set higher rates for the Government of the Northwest Territories and pass the savings on to non-government customers in the form of lower rates. Additionally, the Minister also provided direction to the PUB on limiting the maximum amount that electricity rates can be changed each year.

This direction is an important way that the GNWT is addressing the high cost of living in the NWT. Today’s direction limits increases due to rate rebalancing to 1% annually for non-government customers, down from the previous rate of 3% percent. Without this direction, some NWT customers would have seen their electricity bill increase by as much as much as 7%.

Quotes

“The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to taking the steps it can to help address the high cost of living Northerners face. Today’s policy direction to the PUB will give them greater ability to set lower electricity rates for non-government customers, shielding them from the full impact of sudden and unexpected electricity rate increases.”

  • Glen Abernethy, Minister Responsible for the Public Utilities Board

Quick Facts

  • Electricity regulation is a process by which an independent third-party determines acceptable rates which the utility may charge customers.
  • Clear, consistent and public processes for setting rates based on a close examination of costs to generate and distribute electricity are essential. Third parties may intervene in rate setting processes.
  • Public, transparent decision making processes help protect the public interest and ensure customers are not being charged unfairly.
  • Subsection 14(1) of the Public Utilities Act give the GNWT the authority to issue direction to the Public Utilities Board.

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Media Contacts

Andrew Livingstone
Senior Cabinet Communications Advisor
Department of the Executive                                                                                         
Government of the Northwest Territories
Box 1320 Yellowknife NT X1A 2L9                                                                                             
Tel: (867) 767-9140 ext. 11091
Cell: (867) 447-0443
Fax: (867) 873-0169
Email: andrew_livingstone@gov.nt.ca
Web: www.gov.nt.ca